Mary Kay Letourneau, teacher jailed for raping student, dies at 58

Mary Kay Letourneau at a court hearing in 1998 in Seattle.
(Associated Press)

Mary Kay Letourneau, who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted of raping him, has died. She was 58.

Her lawyer David Gehrke told The Associated Press that Letourneau died Monday, not Tuesday as previously reported. Letourneau had been living in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines and died of advanced colon cancer, Gehrke said.

In 1996, Letourneau was a mother of four having difficulties with her marriage, while Vili Fualaau was a precocious 12-year-old in Letourneau’s class at Shorewood Elementary in Burien, a south Seattle suburb.


At about 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996, police discovered them in a minivan parked at the marina in Des Moines, Wash.

Letourneau, then 34, initially told officers the boy was 18, raising suspicions that something sexual was going on. But back at the police station, Fualaau and Letourneau denied there had been any “touching.” Instead, they said, Letourneau had been babysitting the boy and took him from her home after she and her husband had a fight.

About two months after the marina incident, Letourneau became pregnant with the couple’s first daughter. Their second child was conceived in 1998, after Letourneau had pleaded guilty to child rape and received a 7½-year prison term, which was suspended on condition that she have no contact with Fualaau.

Letourneau and Fualaau married on May 20, 2005, in Woodinville, Wash., after she finished serving her prison sentence.

Fualaau and Letourneau had previously characterized their relationship as one of love and even wrote a book together — “Un Seul Crime, L’Amour,” or “Only One Crime, Love.” Their story was the subject of a USA Network movie, “All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story.”


King County court records show Fualaau asked the court for a legal separation from Letourneau on May 9, 2017.

Letourneau, who grew up in Orange County, is the daughter of former Rep. John G. Schmitz, a deeply conservative Republican and the former national director of the John Birch Society. He died in 2001.

A Times staff writer contributed to this report.