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Mary Kay Letourneau

Mary Kay Fualaau (formerly Letourneau; born Mary Katherine Schmitz; January 30, 1962) is an American former schoolteacher who pleaded guilty to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child, her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau. While awaiting sentencing, she gave birth to Fualaau's child. Her plea agreement called for six months in jail, with three months suspended, and no contact with Fualaau for life. The case gained national attention.

Mary Kay Letourneau
Mary Katherine Schmitz

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

Vili Fualaau (m. 2005)
Parent(s)John G. Schmitz
Mary E. Schmitz
RelativesJohn P. Schmitz, Joseph E. Schmitz (brothers)
4 other siblings
2 half-siblings

Shortly after her three-month stint in jail, Letourneau was caught by police having sex with Fualaau in a car. Judge Linda Lau found that she was in violation of the conditions of the plea agreement, vacated her probation, and re-sentenced her to the maximum of seven years in prison. She soon gave birth to a second daughter, while in prison. She was incarcerated from 1998 to 2004.

When Letourneau was released in 2004, Fualaau, by then over 18 years old, asked the court to dissolve the no-contact order. Judge Lau complied. Letourneau and Fualaau married in May 2005, and she took his last name.[1][2] In May 2017, Fualaau filed for legal separation, though he later withdrew the request.


Early life and educationEdit

Mary Katherine Schmitz was born in 1962 in Tustin, California, the daughter of Mary E. (née Suehr), a chemist, and John G. Schmitz (1930–2001), a university professor.[3][4] She was known as Mary Kay to her family and called "Cake" by her father.[5] She was the fourth of seven children, raised in a "strict Catholic household."[5][6] 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.[6] 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.[7][8]

In 1973, her three-year-old brother drowned in the family pool at their home in the Spyglass Hill section of Corona del Mar, California. Although the death was ruled accidental and no one held responsible, Mary Kay often blamed herself as she promised to look after her brother, and was the first to report to her parents the boy was not breathing.[7]

She 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. During her high school years, she was reported to have "liked parties, boys, and traveling."[9] She was also a student at Arizona State University, where it was claimed she was a "party-animal."[9]

In 1978, her father was elected once again 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 former student at Santa Ana College, where he had taught political science.[10] Her father's affair caused her parents to separate, but they later reconciled. According to friends, Mary Kay felt betrayed and thought her mother was a cold person who "drove him to it" by denying her father affection.[4][11]

Her brother John Patrick Schmitz was the deputy counsel to President George H. W. Bush.[8] Her other brother, Joseph E. Schmitz, was Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense under George W. Bush,[12] was a senior executive with Academi, and is a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump.[13]

Marriage to LetourneauEdit

While attending Arizona State University, Mary Kay Schmitz met and married fellow student Steve Letourneau. They had four children. Their first child was conceived while she was a student at Arizona State.[14] She said that she was not in love with Steve and married him after being urged to do so by her parents. The couple left the university[15] and moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where Steve found work as a baggage handler for Alaska Airlines.[15] After a year in Alaska, her husband was transferred to Seattle, Washington, and she gave birth to their second child. Mary Kay attended Seattle University and graduated in 1989 with a teaching degree.[16]. Later, Mary Kay 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 participated in extramarital affairs.[15] 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. She gave birth to two more children.[17] While incarcerated for child rape in May 1999, she divorced her husband, and he gained custody of their four children.[18] In 2010 it was reported that Mary Kay and Steve have become grandparents as their oldest son had a daughter named Ava.[19][20][21]

Crime, trial, and convictionEdit

Vili Fualaau was one of the students in Letourneau's second-grade class at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington.[22] Fualaau was born in 1983 and is Samoan-American.[23] Letourneau later taught a sixth-grade class in which Fualaau was also a student. When she was 34 in 1996, her relationship with the 12-year-old Fualaau turned from friendship to sexual in the summer of that year.[24] Letourneau was arrested in March 1997 after a relative of her husband Steve contacted the police.[25][26] Her first child with Fualaau, a daughter, was born in May 1997 while Letourneau awaited the conclusion of her trial.[27]

She pleaded guilty and was convicted of two counts of second-degree child rape. She was sentenced to six months (three of which were suspended) in the county jail and three years of sex offender treatment.[28] At that time, she was not required to register as a sex offender, and, as long as she complied with the terms of her plea agreement, she would not be required to serve any additional time in jail.[28] As part of her plea bargain, Letourneau agreed to avoid any further contact with Fualaau.[28]

On February 3, 1998,[29] two weeks after completing her jail sentence, Letourneau was found having sexual relations with Fualaau in her car[30] and was impregnated a second time by Fualaau.[22] She was arrested and police found $6,200 in cash, baby clothes, and her passport inside the car.[31] Letourneau was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in state prison for violating the terms of her probation.[31]

In October 1998, while serving her sentence, Letourneau gave birth to her second daughter by Fualaau.[25] 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).[25] 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):[32] If Loving You Is Wrong.[33] During her imprisonment, Letourneau was allowed visits from her children but was denied permission to attend her father's funeral.[34] While in prison Letourneau tutored fellow inmates, created audio books for blind readers, participated in the prison choir and "rarely missed Mass."[25] 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.[25]

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.[35] Following a ten-week trial, the defendants prevailed and no damages were awarded. Attorney Anne Bremner represented the Des Moines Police Department. Lawyer Michael Patterson represented the Highline School District.[36]

Letourneau was released to a community placement program on August 4, 2004, and the following day she registered with the King County Sheriff's Office as a Level 2 sex offender.[24]

Release from prison and marriage to FualaauEdit

After Letourneau's release from prison in 2004, Fualaau, then age 21, filed a motion in court, requesting a reversal of the no-contact order against Letourneau.[24] A few days later the request was granted.[37] Letourneau and Fualaau were married on May 20, 2005, in the city of Woodinville, Washington, in a ceremony at the Columbia Winery.[2] Exclusive access to the wedding was given to the television show Entertainment Tonight,[2] 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.[38]

Letourneau and her husband were the DJ and hosts for three "Hot for Teacher Night" promotions at a Seattle night club.[39][40] 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."[41] Attorney Anne Bremner, who met Letourneau in 2002 during Fualaau's civil suit, said that Letourneau considered her affair with Fualaau to be "eternal and endless". According to Bremner, "Nothing could have kept the two of them apart."[24]

On May 9, 2017, after almost 12 years of marriage, Fualaau filed for separation from Letourneau.[42] Fualaau later withdrew the separation filing, and the two are still married.[43]

In popular cultureEdit

  • Letourneau's story was recounted in the 2000 TV movie All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story.
  • The Court TV (now TruTV) television series Mugshots released an episode on Letourneau's case titled "Mary K. Letourneau and Vili Fualaau".[44]
  • The TV series Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals covered the case in December 2015. Walters interviewed the couple about their relationship and their two daughters.[45][46]
  • The A&E special Mary Kay Letourneau: Autobiography recounts Mary's views of the Mary and Vili relationship.
  • The Netflix original series Big Mouth mentions Letourneau in S2:E10 "The Department of Puberty".
  • On the NBC comedy 30 Rock, upon learning that a man she's dating is much younger than she previously thought, Liz Lemon remarks, "This just went from a senior dating a freshman to Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau."

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ 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]
  2. ^ a b c "Letourneau Marries Fualaau Amid Media Circus". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 21, 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "California Births, 1905–1995". Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online database). Pearl Street Software. 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. p. 4. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Mary Kay Letourneau's Father Dies". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. January 12, 2001. Retrieved May 12, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (January 12, 2001). "Conservative GOP Congressman John G. Schmitz, 70, Dies". The Washington Post. p. B7.
  9. ^ a b Noe, Denise. "The Politician's Family". Mary Kay Letourneau: The Romance that Was a Crime – via Crime Library.
  10. ^ Stadler, Matthew (June 1998). "Statutory Rape, A Love Story". Spin. Vol. 14 no. 6. pp. 112–125 at 124.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Staff Writer. "Joseph E. Schmitz". NNDB. NNDB.
  13. ^ "Donald Trump's Top Foreign Adviser, Joseph Schmitz, is a former Blackwater Executive".
  14. ^ Ph.D, Steven Chermak; Ph.D, Frankie Y. Bailey (25 January 2016). Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Warrick, Pamela (April 29, 1998). "The Fall from Spyglass Hill". Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  18. ^ Hatcher, Candy (April 19, 2000). "Letourneau Can Profit from Story, Appeals Court Rules". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b 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.
  23. ^ Norwin, Alyssa (April 9, 2015). "Vili Fualaau".
  24. ^ a b c d Skolnik, Sam; Ho, Vanessa (August 5, 2004). "Letourneau Registers as Sex Offender". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  25. ^ a b c d e Richard, Jerome (July 26, 2004). "Together Again?". People.
  26. ^ Morales, Tatiana (August 3, 2004). "What's Next For LeTourneau?". The Early Show. CBS. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  27. ^ McAfee, Tierney (10 April 2015). "Mary Kay Letourneau Reveals First Sexual Encounter with Vili Fualaau". Time Inc. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Baker, KC (May 30, 2017). "Two Prison Terms, Two Kids, a Marriage and Now Separation: Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau's Relationship Through the Years". Retrieved January 1, 2019. In February 1998, after she was released from prison, police spotted Letourneau having sex with Fualaau in her car.
  31. ^ a b Stadler, Matthew (June 1998). "Statutory Rape, A Love Story". Spin. Vol. 1 no. 6. pp. 112–125 at 124–125.
  32. ^ Bunn, Austin (January 27, 2000). "Prisoner of Love". Salon. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  33. ^ Olsen, Gregg (1999). If Loving You Is Wrong. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312970129.[page needed]
  34. ^ "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]
  35. ^ Johnson, Tracy (March 22, 2002). "Fualaau's Suit Says He Wasn't Protected from Letourneau". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  36. ^ Skolnik, Sam (May 21, 2002). "Schools, Police Absolved in Fualaau Case". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  37. ^ "Letourneau Now Allowed to See Former Student". Local. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. August 7, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  38. ^ "Letourneau and Fualaau, One Year Later". Dateline NBC. NBC. June 2, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  39. ^ "Letourneau, Young Spouse to Host 'Hot for Teacher' Night". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. May 21, 2009. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  40. ^ McNerthney, Casey (May 24, 2009). "Inside the Mary Kay Letourneau 'Hot For Teacher' Night". The Big Blog. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  41. ^ CBS News: What's Next for LeTuorneau? Archived November 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Kristina Sgueglia (May 31, 2017). "Husband files for separation from former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau". CNN. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  43. ^ "Mary Kay Letourneau's Husband, Vili Fualaau, Arrested for DUI: Report". March 30, 2018.
  44. ^ "Mugshots - Mary K. Letourneau and Vili Fualaau". Dailymotion. 5 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  45. ^ "Mary Kay Letourneau: Forbidden Love | Barbara Walters Presents | Investigation Discovery GO". Investigation Discovery GO. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  46. ^ "Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals - Season 1 Episode 8: Mary Kay Letourneau: Forbidden Love". TVBuzer. Retrieved 5 April 2017.

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