Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who was convicted of raping her 12-year-old student, died on Tuesday.
The message came from her attorney, David Gehrke. Letourneau, now 58, had succumbed to cancer, according to the brief press release.
Mary Kay Letourneau, and her trial, made national news in 1996 when she was arrested for having sexual contact with her student, Vili Fualaau, at the Shorewood Elementary School, outside of Seattle.
On June 19, 1996, police officers discovered them in a minivan parked at a marina. Letourneau, then 34, claimed she was babysitting the boy and taken him out for a cooling-off period because she and her husband had an argument.
A lengthy investigation ensued. It didn’t help her case when Letourneau became pregnant. Ultimately, Mary Kay Letourneau pled guilty to child rape and was handed down a 7 1/2-year prison sentence.
Letourneau and Fualaau made headlines again when they married in 2005.
Fualaau’s mother filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against the police department and the school district. In that case, the defense argued the romance was so bizarre that nobody could have logically predicted it. The school district said they weren’t at fault because the affair began off school grounds after the school year had ended. In that civil case, the police simply submitted that there was no proof of sex-related abuse until it was too late.
Fualaau filed for separation from Letourneau in 2017.