Mary Kay Letourneau, a Washington school teacher who served prison time for raping her student and then later married him, has died. She was 58.
Letourneau was a 34-year-old married mother of four and a sixth grade teacher when she began a relationship with 12-year-old Vili Fualaau in 1996. Letourneau served time in prison for sexually abusing Fualaau. During the course of their relationship, they had two daughters together, married and separated. Both maintained the relationship was consensual.
In a statement, the Letourneau and Fualaau families wrote that she had died peacefully on Monday after a six-month battle with metastatic cancer.
"Mary fought tirelessly against this terrible disease," the families wrote. "Mary, and all of us, found great strength in having our immediate and extended family members together to join her in this arduous struggle. We did our very best to care for Mary and one another as we kept her close and stayed close together."
Letourneau and Fualaau's children were both conceived before Fualaau was 15. After she became pregnant with Fualaau's first child, Letourneau pleaded guilty to child rape charges. Prosecutors agreed to a three-month jail sentence and probation if Letourneau stayed away from Fualaau.
But just a few months after her release, Letourneau was caught violating her parole by meeting with him.
She was pregnant with Fualaau's second child in 1998 when a judge sentenced her to seven and a half years in prison.
Letourneau was released in 2004 and the following year, she and Fualaau married.
In 2017 Fualaau filed for separation, but the couple reportedly continued to spend time together. Their separation became final in February 2019.