A former Seattle elementary school teacher who spent nearly a decade behind bars for having sex with a student claims she had no idea it was illegal to hook up with a minor.
News.com.au reports that Mary Kay Letourneau made national headlines in 1997 when she was sentenced to seven years in prison for second-degree rape of a child. She is now 56 and married to her then-student, Vili Fualaau, now 35. Letourneau said not only did she not think she was doing anything illegal, but she still doesn’t think it was wrong to have a sexual relationship with a sixth grade student.
“If someone had told me, if anyone had told me, there is a specific law that says this is a crime,” Letourneau said to host Matt Doran on the Australia-based “Sunday Night” show.
“I did not know. I’ve said this over and over again. Had I’d known, if anyone knows my personality. Just the idea, this would count as a crime.”
Letourneau was initially given a 6-month stint in jail for having sex with her former student Fualaau, followed by probation for the inappropriate relationship. A judge warned her to keep away from the boy, clearly expressing that the relationship was illegal.
A few weeks later, authorities found the pair having sex inside a car. Letourneau was shipped to prison.
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Letourneau was a 34-year-old married mother of four when she started a sexual relationship with Fualaau, who was just a little over a year older than her first child at the time. Upon release from prison, she married Fualaau on May 20, 2005.
After a brief legal separation in 2017, the pair got back together again. Letourneau insists she’s still in love with her former student.
The pair’s oldest daughter, Aubrey, 21, was born before Letourneau started her prison sentence. Another daughter, Georgia, 19, arrived while Letourneau was serving out her time in a Washington prison.
“It’s kind of surprising to people but it’s normal for us because we’ve adapted to it,” Audrey said, calling her father a “friend dad.”
Letourneau currently works as a paralegal at the same court that convicted her. She’s also looking forward to being removed from the sex offender registry list and said she still “absolutely” feels like she was wrongfully imprisoned.
[Feature Photo: Mary Kay Letourneau via AP/Alan Berner, Pool. File]