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Mary Kay Fualaau (born January 30, 1962, in Orange County, Californiamarker, formerly Mary Kay Letourneau, née Mary Katherine Schmitz) is a former schoolteacher convicted in 1997 of the statutory rape of one of her students, a 13-year old boy, with whom the then-married mother of four had a longtime extramarital affair during the boy's teenage years. She gave birth to two children by her underage lover and the couple married in 2005, after he became an adult and she spent several years in prison and divorced her first husband.Her notoriety has turned her into a touchstone cultural reference and has spawned a number of television specials about her. She is also the daughter of former prominent conservative political figure, John G. Schmitz, whose political career effectively ended due to his own teacher-student sex scandal.

Family background

Letourneau was born Mary Katherine Schmitz in Orange County, Californiamarker to John G. Schmitz and Mary Schmitz. She became known as Mary Kay, and was affectionally called "Cake" by her father, who reportedly doted on his first-born daughter, who was the fourth of seven children he had with Mary Schmitz.

Both of Mary Kay's parents were fairly prominent conservative political figures and Roman Catholics. During his political career, her father represented Orange County districts as a California state senator and U.S. Congressman as a member of the Republican Party, and he ran for president on the even more conservative American Independent Party ticket in the 1972 U.S. presidential election. The former U.S. Marine also was a longtime leader in the ultra-conservative John Birch Society until he was expelled by them for extremist rhetoric. John Schmitz's political career effectively came to an end in 1982, when he admitted to a longtime extramarital affair in which he fathered two children out-of-wedlock with one of his former students at Santa Ana College, a local community college where he had taught political science. The revelation also ended the work of Mary Kay's mother, who left her position as a conservative commentator on a political round-table television show. Previously, Mary Schmitz had become known as the "West Coast Phyllis Schlafly" for her vigorous opposition to ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Two of Mary Kay's siblings, however, continued in the tradition of their parents' prominent conservatism, as elder brothers John P. Schmitz and Joseph E. Schmitz have both served in high posts in recent Republican presidential administrations.

Her father's affair also caused Mary Kay's parents to separate, but they reconciled. According to some friends of hers at the time, Mary Kay took her father's side in the affair, telling these friends that her mother was a cold person who "drove him to it" by denying him affection. Other friends from back then say Mary Kay felt as betrayed as her mother did. Mary Kay's father never financially supported or helped to raise her half-siblings by his mistress, who became wards of the state and went to an orphanage after their mother died and their subsequent guardian (high-profile Washington D.C. astrologer-psychic and real-estate businesswoman Jeane Dixon, a close friend of Mary Schmitz, who also employed Mrs. Schmitz in D.C. real estate after the affair revelation) also then died after two years of caring for them.

During her high school years, Mary Kay attended Cornelia Connelly High Schoolmarker, an all-girls Catholic school in Anaheim, Californiamarker, where she was a member of the cheerleading squad for the nearby all-boys Catholic school, Servite High Schoolmarker, where she met and dated, among others, future NBA referee Ron Garretson. (With single-sex institutions, it is commonplace for so-called "sister schools" to supply cheerleaders for nearby "brother schools.") Mary Kay was reportedly known as a party-girl who was very interested in boys and would frequent fraternity parties at a nearby university. For college, she decided to move one state over, leaving California to enroll at Arizona State Universitymarker, long infamously ranked as one of the nation's top party schools, where she reportedly continued her partying ways.

It was there that she met fellow student Steve Letourneau, by whom she got pregnant. One day in class, Mary Kay started having a miscarriage. Like her parents, Mary Kay was strongly opposed to abortion, and her mother urged doctors not to do a D & C, or dilation and cutterage, on the chance that Mary Kay might be carrying twins, which doctors discovered she was. Mary Kay remained pregnant with the one embryo who survived the miscarriage. Mary Kay reportedly had doubts about marrying Letourneau because, among other things, she did not think she loved him, but after consulting with her parents who urged her to marry him, she did so and the couple dropped out of college. Steven, Jr., was born a few months later.

The couple moved to Steve Letourneau's hometown of Anchorage, Alaskamarker, where he took up work as a baggage handler for Alaska Airlines. The couple reportedly had financial problems making ends meet that caused Mary Kay occasionally to beg her parents for money. The couple also reportedly had marital problems in the form of Steve Letourneau having extramarital affairs that left Mary Kay feeling jealous and emotionally neglected. After a year in Alaskamarker, Steve Letourneau's job was transferred to Seattlemarker, where the couple moved and Mary Kay took care of what soon became a total of four children by day, while taking classes at Seattle Universitymarker at night so she could become a teacher. She graduated in 1989, and began teaching second grade at Shorewood Elementary School in the Seattle-suburb of Burien, Washingtonmarker.

Teacher-student relationship

Letourneau first met Vili Fualaau when he was a student in her second grade class at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washingtonmarker. She became his teacher again when he was in the sixth grade, after she had become a teacher of a combined fifth and sixth grade class in which he happened to be. She began a relationship when Vili was 12 years old. She became pregnant by him in the same grade, when Vili was 13 and she was 35. Her husband became aware of the situation when he read their letters to each other in February 1997 and revealed it to family members. His brother then reported the relationship to local child protection services.

Legal matters

On February 26, 1997, Letourneau was arrested for statutory rape, which is called "Rape of a Child" with three degrees in Washington. Four months later, she gave birth to Fualaau's daughter, Audrey Lokelani Fualaau. On August 7, 1997, she pled guilty to two counts of second-degree statutory rape. She was sentenced to 89 months in prison by Judge Linda Lau.

The prison term was suspended, and Letourneau was sentenced to serve six months in county jail and enroll in a three-year sex offender treatment program. She was released from jail early on January 1, 1998 for good behavior, on the condition that she not see Fualaau. However, on February 3, 1998, police discovered Letourneau in a car with Fualaau and arrested her for violating the conditions of her suspended sentence. She had also failed to comply with her sex offender treatment program. In the car, police found $6,200 in cash, baby clothes, and a passport, indicating that Letourneau had been planning to leave the country. The original sentence of seven and a half years was reimposed.

In March 1998, prison officials discovered that Letourneau was pregnant with another child by Fualaau. Their second daughter, Georgia Alexis Fualaau, was born in Tacoma on October 16, 1998. Hours after the birth, Mary Kay Letourneau was returned to prison. In May 1999, while she was in prison, Letourneau and her first husband, Steve Letourneau, were divorced. Steve received custody of their four children and relocated the family to Alaskamarker. Letourneau spent 18 of the first 24 months of this sentence in solitary confinement for various reasons. In January, 2001, Letourneau's father died, and she was denied permission to attend the funeral.

In 2002, Fualaau's family sued the Highline School District and the city of Des Moines, Washingtonmarker, for emotional suffering, lost wages, and the costs of rearing his two children, claiming the school and the Des Moines Police Department had failed to protect him from Letourneau. During the highly publicized ten week trial, high-profile defense lawyer Anne Bremner, who represented the Des Moines Police Department, and Michael Patterson, who represented the Highline School District, convinced the jury, in the words of Bremner that "nothing could keep them apart". The jury agreed, and no damages were awarded.

Life after prison

Letourneau was released on community placement on August 4, 2004. She registered as a Level 2 sex offender and will have to have her address verified every 90 days. Washington does not have the traditional concept of parole. The court would have the authority to impose incarceration up to sixty days, per violation, if an offender violates the terms of community placement. Fualaau, age 21 at the time, applied to the court to lift the no-contact order. On August 7, 2004, Superior Court Judge Linda Lau lifted the injunction she placed in 1997 and allowed Fualaau and Letourneau to see each other. Fualaau and Letourneau were finally reconnected after their troubling hardships. Letourneau and Fualaau were married on May 20, 2005 in the Seattle suburb of Woodinvillemarker in a ceremony at the Columbia Winery, covered by the media. Access to the wedding was strictly controlled by the television show,Entertainment Tonight, which reportedly paid for exclusive access, although photographs were released to other media outlets. Mary Kay Letourneau now goes by the legal name of Mary Kay Fualaau.

Fualaau has stated that she would like another child and would like to return to teaching. She said that she is able to teach at private schools and community colleges.

Mary Kay and Vili Fualaau have hosted several "Hot for Teacher Night" promotions at Seattle nightclub Fuel Sports Eats and Beats. During these events, husband Vili performs as DJ Headline, while Mary Kay hosts.

TV shows and movies



Cultural references

  • Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule wrote a song about Letourneau, "Mary Kay", appearing on her album Pink Pearl. The tone is alternately sympathetic and sarcastic.
  • On the seventh episode of the second season of 30 Rock Liz Lemon compares her relationship with a 20 year old Jaime to Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau.
  • Letourneau was mentioned on the fourth episode in season four of Everybody Hates Chris.
  • Letourneau was also mentioned in 2gether's song "awesum luvr" by QT - "Mary K. Letourneau, she knew the truth. It's all the young dudes who've got the best moves".
  • Mary Kay Letourneau was referenced by Lorelai in the twentieth episode of the first season of Gilmore Girls when she and Rory are playing a game they made up, called "One, Two, Three."
  • In 2007, a comical sketch show entitled "The Mary Kay Letourneau Story: A Karaoke Musical" was produced and performed by the Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago, IL.
  • In a season four episode of Without a Trace, Letourneau is referenced by Special Agent Vivian Johnson, who is investigating the disappearance of a school teacher, suspected of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.
  • In the Gossip Girl episode, "Carrnal Knowledge", Blair refers to Mary Kay Letourneau as she sends a text message to Gossip Girl on seeing Dan Humphrey and a teacher, starting a rumor that they're having an affair.
  • In the Nip/Tuck episode "Ricky Wells," an 18-year-old boy asks for surgery to make him look older. He recently married his second grade teacher, convicted sex offender "Kerri May." She was arrested for statutory rape, released on good behavior, then caught in a car having sex with him again and sent back to prison for the full term. After released, the no-contact ban was lifted and they were married a week later.


See also



References

  1. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "The Politician's Family." [1] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  2. Warrick, Pamela. "The Fall from Spyglass Hill." Los Angeles Times. 29-04-1998. Retrieved 22-10-2009. Page 3. [2]
  3. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "The Politician's Family." [3] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  4. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "Scandal of the Second Family." [4] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  5. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "Scandal of the Second Family." [5] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  6. Warrick, Pamela. "The Fall from Spyglass Hill." Los Angeles Times. 29-04-1998. Retrieved 22-10-2009. Page 4. [6]
  7. Warrick, Pamela. "The Fall from Spyglass Hill." Los Angeles Times. 29-04-1998. Retrieved 22-10-2009. Page 4. [7]
  8. [8]
  9. [9]
  10. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "The Politician's Family." [10] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  11. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "Marrying Mr. Right Now." [11] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  12. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "Marrying Mr. Right Now." [12] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."
  13. Noe, Denise. Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that was a Crime. From chapter entitled "Marrying Mr. Right Now." [13] Entire work available at truTV.com website, as part of its "Crime Library."


  • McElroy, W. (2004). No panic over school child abuse. Commentary: The Independent Institute. (Request reprint).


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