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Mary Katherine Schmitz (formerly Letourneau; January 30, 1962) is an American former schoolteacher who pleaded guilty in 1997 to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child, Vili Fualaau, who was 12 or 13 at the time and had been her sixth-grade student. While awaiting sentencing, she gave birth to Fualaau's child. With the state seeking a six-and-a-half year prison sentence, she reached a plea agreement calling for six months in jail, with three months suspended, and no contact with Fualaau for life among other terms. The case received national attention.

Mary Kay Letourneau
Mary Katherine Schmitz

(1962-01-30) January 30, 1962 (age 57)
Steve Letourneau
(m. 1984; div. 1999)

Vili Fualaau
(m. 2005; div. 2019)
RelativesJoseph E. Schmitz (brother)

Shortly after spending three months in jail, the police caught Letourneau in a car with Fualaau. A judge revoked her plea agreement and re-instated the prison sentence for the maximum allowed by law of seven-and-a-half years.[1] Eight months after returning to prison, she gave birth to Fualaau's second child, another daughter.[2] She was imprisoned from 1998 to 2004. Letourneau and Fualaau began a 14-year marriage in May 2005.[3][4][5]

Early life and educationEdit

Mary Katherine Schmitz was born in 1962 in Tustin, California, the daughter of Mary E. (née Suehr), a former chemist, and John G. Schmitz (1930–2001), a community college instructor.[6][7] She was known as Mary Kay to her family and called "Cake" by her father.[8] She was the fourth of seven children, raised in a "strict Catholic household."[8][9] When Mary Kay was two years old, her father began his political career and successfully ran as a Republican for a seat in the state legislature.[9] He held positions as a California state senator and U.S. Congressman, winning a special election for an unexpired term in 1970 and the general election later that year. After a primary defeat in 1972, he changed parties and ran for president as an American Independent Party candidate in the 1972 U.S. presidential election.[10][11] In 1973, Mary Kay's three-year-old brother drowned in the family pool at their home in the Spyglass Hill section of Corona del Mar, California while she played with another brother in the shallow end.[10]

Mary Kay attended Cornelia Connelly High School, an all-girls' Catholic school in Anaheim, California, where she was a member of the cheerleading squad for Servite High School. She was also a student at Arizona State University.[12]

In 1978, her father was re-elected as a Republican to the California State Senate. He intended to run for the U.S. Senate in 1982, but his political career was permanently damaged that year when it was revealed that he had fathered two children out of wedlock during an affair with a mistress, a former student at Santa Ana College, where he had taught political science.[13] Her father's affair caused her parents to separate, but they later reconciled.[7][14]

Her brother John Schmitz was the deputy counsel to President George H. W. Bush.[11] Her other brother, Joseph E. Schmitz, was Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense under George W. Bush,[15] was a senior executive with Academi, and is a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump.[16]

First marriageEdit

When Schmitz was attending Arizona State University, she met and married fellow student Steve Letourneau, and she conceived the first of her four children with Letourneau.[17] She said that she was not in love with Letourneau and married him after being urged to do so by her parents. The couple moved to Anchorage, Alaska,[18] where Letourneau found work as a baggage handler for Alaska Airlines.[18] After a year in Alaska, he was transferred to Seattle, Washington, and she gave birth to their second child. She graduated from Seattle University in 1989 with a teaching degree.[19] She began teaching second grade at Shorewood Elementary School in the Seattle suburb of Burien.

The Letourneaus' marriage reportedly suffered; they had financial problems and both parties engaged in extramarital affairs.[18] Her attorney, former neighbor, and friend David Gehrke said that she was "emotionally and physically abused by her husband" during their marriage, and twice "went to the hospital for treatment, and police were called," although no charges were ever filed.[20] While imprisoned for child rape in May 1999, she divorced her husband, and he gained custody of their four children.[21] In 2010, the Letourneaus became grandparents when their oldest son had a daughter.[22][23][24]

Crime and sentencingEdit

Born June 26, 1983,[25] Vili Fualaau, a Samoan-American,[26] was Letourneau's student in both his second-grade and sixth-grade classes at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington.[27] When she was 34 in the summer of 1996, her relationship with the 12 or 13-year-old Fualaau turned from platonic to sexual.[28] On June 18, 1996, police came upon Letourneau in a car with Fualaau in a marina parking lot. She was seen jumping into the front seat while Fualaau pretended to sleep in the back. She and Fualaau provided false names when asked for identification and Letourneau lied about his age, saying that he was 18.[29] Fualaau said that no touching had taken place. Letourneau said she and her husband had gotten into an argument, and that Fualaau, who she said was a family friend who had been staying with them that night, witnessed the argument and ran away upset. She said she left to find him.[29] The police took Letourneau and Fualaau to the police station, where Fualaau's mother was called. The mother was asked what should be done, and said to return Fualaau to Letourneau. She later said that if the police had alerted her to the fact that Letourneau had lied about Fualaau's age and what had occurred in the car, she would not have allowed her son to go back to Letourneau.[29] Letourneau was arrested in March 1997 after a relative of her husband contacted the police.[30][31] Her first child with Fualaau, a daughter, was born in May 1997 while she was awaiting sentencing.[32]

With more than 100 journalists observing,[33] Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape. The state sought to sentence her to six-and-a-half years in prison.[34] Through a plea agreement, her sentence was reduced to six months (three of which were suspended) in the county jail and three years of sex offender treatment.[35] She was not required initially to register as a sex offender.[35] As part of her plea agreement, Letourneau could not contact Fualaau or her five children, or have content with any other minors.[1][35][36] She became the subject of an international tabloid scandal,[37] was targeted by delusional strangers,[38] and experienced symptoms of degraded mental health.[39]

On February 3, 1998,[40] two weeks after completing her jail sentence, Letourneau was found by police in a car with Fualaau near her home. Letourneau initially said she was alone in the car. She and Fualaau provided false names when asked for identification.[41] Although it was reported that sexual intercourse had occurred in the car,[42][43] Fualaau told a detective that he and Letourneau had kissed frequently and that he had touched Letourneau on the thigh, but that no sexual intercourse had occurred.[41] There was evidence the two had met several times since Letourneau's release from jail on January 2.[41] When she was arrested, police found $6,200 in cash, baby clothes, and her passport inside the car.[44] Receipts for $850 in purchases made since January 20 for men's and young men's clothing and infant wear were found.[41] Letourneau said that the money was for dermatology treatments and for her divorce lawyer, and that some of the men's clothing were gifts for relatives and for herself since she enjoyed wearing oversized men's clothing.[41] With more than 125 journalists observing,[33] the judge revoked Letourneau's prior plea agreement and re-instated the original prison sentence for the maximum penalty allowed by law, seven and a half years, for violating the agreement.[1][45][44] In interviews and in a book on her involvement with Fualaau, Letourneau said she had sex with Fualaau in January.[2] This aligned with testimony from police, who said they had seen no evidence that sex had occurred in the car in February.[46]

In October 1998, while serving her second stint in jail, Letourneau gave birth to her second daughter by Fualaau.[30] That year, Letourneau and Fualaau co-authored a book, which was published in France, called Only One Crime, Love (French: Un seul crime, l'amour).[30] In 1999 a second book appeared, this one published in the United States, but written with only minimal cooperation from her, and none from Fualaau:[47] If Loving You Is Wrong.[48] During her imprisonment, Letourneau was allowed visits from her children but was denied permission to attend her father's funeral.[49] While in prison Letourneau tutored fellow inmates, created audio books for blind readers, participated in the prison choir and "rarely missed Mass."[30] Because of her notoriety, Letourneau was unpopular with other inmates, "sassed guards and balked at work" and, reportedly as punishment for this, spent "18 of her first 24 months" in solitary confinement.[30] In one instance, Letourneau endured six months in solitary when letters she tried to send to Fualaau were intercepted.[50]

In 2002, Fualaau's family sued the Highline School District and the city of Des Moines, Washington, 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.[51] Following a ten-week trial, no damages were awarded. Attorney Anne Bremner represented the Des Moines Police Department. Her counterpart Michael Patterson represented the Highline School District.[52]

Letourneau was released to a community placement program on August 4, 2004, and registered the following day with the King County Sheriff's Office as a Level 2 sex offender.[28]

Release from prison and marriage to FualaauEdit

After Letourneau's release from prison in 2004, Fualaau, then age 21, persuaded the court to reverse the no-contact order against Letourneau.[28][53] Letourneau and Fualaau married on May 20, 2005, in the city of Woodinville, Washington, in a ceremony at the Columbia Winery.[4] Exclusive access to the wedding was given to the television show Entertainment Tonight,[4] and photographs were released through other media outlets. Letourneau said she planned to have another child and return to the teaching profession and indicated that by law she was permitted to teach at private schools and community colleges.[54]

Attorney Anne Bremner, who met Letourneau in 2002 during Fualaau's civil suit, said that Letourneau considered her relationship with Fualaau to be "eternal and endless". According to Bremner, "Nothing could have kept the two of them apart."[28] During an Inside Edition interview, Fualaau said, "I'm not a victim. I'm not ashamed of being a father. I'm not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay."[55] The television series Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals covered the case in December 2015. Walters interviewed the couple about their relationship and their two daughters.[56][57]

On May 9, 2017, after almost 12 years of marriage, Fualaau filed for separation from Letourneau[58] but later withdrew the filing.[59]

As of April 2018, Fualaau was working at a home improvement store and as a professional DJ and Letourneau was working as a legal assistant. An article in People magazine quoted an insider source who said, "They know what everyone thinks about their relationship [...] And they don't care. They really never have. The wrong stuff that happened was so long ago. They are two grown adults who are living their lives now."[60]

The couple divorced in August 2019.[61][62][63][5]

In popular cultureEdit

  • On March 30, 1998, Mary appeared holding her child on the cover of People magazine.[64]
  • In 2001, the Court TV (now TruTV) television series Mugshots released an episode about Letourneau's case titled "Mary K. Letourneau and Vili Fualaau".[65]
  • On October 2, 2010, Paul Brittain and Abby Elliott portrayed Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau in a "What Up with That?" sketch on Saturday Night Live.[66]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "LE TOURNEAU [sic] CASE: Police check reports that teacher resumed sexual relations with boy". The Kitsap Sun. Associated Press. February 8, 1998. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "MARY KAY LETOURNEAU: Teenage father can't wait to see newborn daughter". The Associated Press. October 19, 1998. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Wilson, Kimberly A.C. (March 18, 1999). "Letourneau May Be Transferred to Out-of-State Prison". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "Letourneau Marries Fualaau Amid Media Circus". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 21, 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Mary Kay Letourneau's Separation from Viki Fualaau is Final, Says Source: 'Everything is Split Up'". Yahoo Entertainment. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "California Births, 1905–1995". Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online database). Pearl Street Software. 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. p. 4. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Mary Kay Letourneau's Father Dies". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. January 12, 2001. Retrieved May 12, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b Noe, Denise. "The Politician's Family". Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that Was a Crime. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 – via Crime Library.
  10. ^ a b Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. pp. 1–4. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (January 12, 2001). "Conservative GOP Congressman John G. Schmitz, 70, Dies". The Washington Post. p. B7.
  12. ^ Noe, Denise. "The Politician's Family". Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that Was a Crime – via Crime Library.
  13. ^ Stadler, Matthew (June 1998). "Statutory Rape, A Love Story". Spin. Vol. 14 no. 6. pp. 112–125 at 124.
  14. ^ Noe, Denise. "Scandal of the Second Family". Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that Was a Crime. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 – via Crime Library.
  15. ^ Staff Writer. "Joseph E. Schmitz". NNDB. NNDB.
  16. ^ "Donald Trump's Top Foreign Adviser, Joseph Schmitz, is a former Blackwater Executive".
  17. ^ Ph.D, Steven Chermak; Ph.D, Frankie Y. Bailey (January 25, 2016). Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610695947. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Noe, Denise. "Marrying Mr. Right Now". Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that Was a Crime. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 – via Crime Library.
  19. ^ Steven Chermak Ph, D.; Frankie, Y. Bailey PH D. (January 25, 2016). Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History [3 volumes]: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History. ISBN 9781610695947.
  20. ^ Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  21. ^ Hatcher, Candy (April 19, 2000). "Letourneau Can Profit from Story, Appeals Court Rules". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^
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  25. ^ "Vili Fualaau Biography".
  26. ^ Norwin, Alyssa (April 9, 2015). "Vili Fualaau".
  27. ^ Gartner, Richard B. (1999). "Encoding Sexual Abuse as Sexual Initiation". Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men. New York: Guilford Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-57230-644-8. LCCN 98055694. OCLC 317520944. Retrieved May 12, 2009 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ a b c d Skolnik, Sam; Ho, Vanessa (August 5, 2004). "Letourneau Registers as Sex Offender". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  29. ^ a b c "Boy, mom file suit over him having sex with teacher". CNN. May 13, 2002. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  30. ^ a b c d e Richard, Jerome (July 26, 2004). "Together Again?". People.
  31. ^ Morales, Tatiana (August 3, 2004). "What's Next For LeTourneau?". The Early Show. CBS. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  32. ^ McAfee, Tierney (April 10, 2015). "Mary Kay Letourneau Reveals First Sexual Encounter with Vili Fualaau". Time Inc. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  33. ^ "LeTourneau sentence upsets social workers". The Kitsap Sun. Associated Press. November 16, 1997. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  34. ^ a b c Stennis, Joe, Jr. (July 2006). "Equal Protection Dilemma: Why Male Adolescent Students Need Federal Protection from Adult Female Teachers Who Prey on Them". Journal of Law and Education. Vol. 35 no. 3. pp. 355+. Retrieved October 3, 2010 – via HeinOnline.
  35. ^ Mankiewicz, Josh (June 2, 2006). "A love like no other". Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  36. ^ "Letourneau, Mary Kay (b. 1962)".
  37. ^ "Teacher's lawyer warned groupies".
  38. ^ "Report: Letourneau confused, impulsive".
  39. ^ Noe, Denise. "The Deal Goes Dude". Mary K. Letourneau Facts of the Case. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012 – via Crime Library.
  40. ^ a b c d e "PAROLE REVOKED, EX-TEACHER SENT TO PRISON IN TEEN SEX CASE". The Washington Post. February 7, 1998. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  41. ^ "No-contact order lifted for ex-teacher in teen sex case". Chicago Tribune. August 7, 2004. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  42. ^ Baker, KC (May 30, 2017). "Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau's Relationship Through the Years — from Prison to Marriage". People. Retrieved January 1, 2019. In February 1998, after she was released from prison, police spotted Letourneau having sex with Fualaau in her car.
  43. ^ a b Stadler, Matthew (June 1998). "Statutory Rape, A Love Story". Spin. Vol. 1 no. 6. pp. 112–125 at 124–125.
  44. ^ "LeTourneau found in car with former student". Associated Press. February 4, 1998. Retrieved September 11, 2019 – via The Kitsap Sun.
  45. ^ "LE TOURNEAU CASE: Police check reports that teacher resumed sexual relations with boy". Kitsap Sun.
  46. ^ Bunn, Austin (January 27, 2000). "Prisoner of Love". Salon. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  47. ^ Olsen, Gregg (1999). If Loving You Is Wrong. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312970129.[page needed]
  48. ^ "Mary K. Letourneau's Father Dies: She Won't Get to Attend Funeral". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. January 11, 2001. Retrieved May 12, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  49. ^ "Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance That was a Crime".
  50. ^ Johnson, Tracy (March 22, 2002). "Fualaau's Suit Says He Wasn't Protected from Letourneau". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  51. ^ Skolnik, Sam (May 21, 2002). "Schools, Police Absolved in Fualaau Case". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  52. ^ "Letourneau Now Allowed to See Former Student". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. August 7, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  53. ^ "Letourneau and Fualaau, One Year Later". Dateline NBC. NBC. June 2, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  54. ^ CBS News: What's Next for LeTuorneau? Archived November 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ "Mary Kay Letourneau: Forbidden Love | Barbara Walters Presents | Investigation Discovery GO". Investigation Discovery GO. December 21, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  56. ^ "Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals - Season 1 Episode 8: Mary Kay Letourneau: Forbidden Love". TVBuzer. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  57. ^ Kristina Sgueglia (May 31, 2017). "Husband files for separation from former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau". CNN. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  58. ^ "Mary Kay Letourneau's Husband, Vili Fualaau, Arrested for DUI: Report". March 30, 2018.
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ "Out of Control". People.
  64. ^ "Mugshots - Mary K. Letourneau and Vili Fualaau". Dailymotion. October 5, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  65. ^

Further reading

  • Letourneau, Mary Kay; Fualaau, Vili (1999). Un seul crime, l'amour [Only one crime, love] (in French). Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-221-08812-3.
  • McElroy, W. (2004). "No panic over school child abuse". Commentary. The Independent Institute. (Request reprint).
  • Olsen, Gregg (1999). If Loving You is Wrong. New York: St. Martins: True Crime. ISBN 978-1481049016.
  • Robinson, J. (2001). The Mary Kay Letourneau Affair. Overland Park, KS: Leathers Publishing. ISBN 978-1585970582.
  • Dress, C. (2004). Mass With Mary: The Prison Years. Trafford, BC: Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1412037730.

External linksEdit