Mary Kay Letourneau, teacher jailed for raping student she later married, dies

Teacher Sex Interview

AP — Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted of raping him in a case that drew international headlines, has died. She was 58.

Her lawyer David Gehrke told multiple news outlets Letourneau died Tuesday of cancer. He did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.

Letourneau was a married mother of four having difficulties with her marriage in 1996 when Vili Fualaau was a precocious 12-year-old in Letourneau's class at Shorewood Elementary in Burien, a south Seattle suburb.

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Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau
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Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau

20/20 - A BARBARA WALTERS EXCLUSIVE - ABC News' Barbara Walters interviews Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and husband Vili Fualaau, on the eve of their 10th anniversary sharing intimate details about their headline-making marriage, which will air on 20/20 on FRIDAY, APRIL 10 (10-11 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network.

(Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) 

Former Seattle teacher Mary Kay Letourneau, whose affair with one of her ex-pupils caused a national scandal, breaks down February 6 as she is ordered to prison for 7-1/2 years for seeing the boy again. Letourneau, 36, who had a child with the boy -- now aged 14 -- was ordered to return to prison to finish her full term for violating the main condition of her parole -- a sworn pledge not to see the boy. TEACHER
NORMANDY PARK, WA - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE) Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau during a photo shoot at her beach front home April 27, 2006 in Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Vili Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The two will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on May 20, 2006. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
NORMANDY PARK, WA - MAY 8: Mary Letourneau, 43, and her fiance Vili Fualaau, 22, and their two children drive along the beach from their home on May 8, 2005 in the Seattle suburb Normandy Park, WA. Letourneau spent more than 7 years in jail for having sex with Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student, and the two have announced plans to wed this May. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
20/20 - A BARBARA WALTERS EXCLUSIVE - ABC News' Barbara Walters interviews Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and husband Vili Fualaau, on the eve of their 10th anniversary sharing intimate details about their headline-making marriage, which will air on 20/20 on FRIDAY, APRIL 10 (10-11 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO 14NOV97 - Mary Kay LeTourneau, a former teacher imprisoned for having sexual relations with a 14-year-old boy, is pregnant for a second time by the teen-ager, a newspaper reported on March 14. Letourneau, who last month was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on child rape charges, is six weeks pregnant and plans to carry the baby to term, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which quoted an unidentified source. "She is absolutely giddy," the source said. She is shown sitting in court at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington, on November 14, 1997, before being sentenced for the crime.
NORMANDY PARK, WA - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE) Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau during a photo shoot at her beach front home April 27, 2006 in Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Vili Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The two will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on May 20, 2006. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
NORMANDY PARK, WA - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE) Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau (R) during a photo shoot at her beach front home April 27, 2006 in Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Vili Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The two will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on May 20, 2006. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
SEATAC, WA - APRIL 3: Vili Fualaau appears in court in SeaTac, Washington April 3, 2006 for a hearing to determine if he is to stand trial on a drunken driving charge. The judge set a trial date for April 26 for Fualaa, the husband of Mary Kay Letourneau, his former sixth grade teacher who was convicted of child rape for having sex with Fualaau. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
NORMANDY PARK, WA - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE) Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau (R) during a photo shoot at her beach front home April 27, 2006 in Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Vili Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The two will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on May 20, 2006. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
Former Seattle teacher Mary Kay Letourneau, whose affair with one of her ex-pupils caused a national scandal, appears in a King County Courtroom for her sentencing February 6. Letourneau was ordered to prison for 7-1/2 years for seeing the boy again. Letourneau, 36, who had a child with the boy -- now aged 14 -- was ordered to return to prison to finish her full term for violating the main condition of her parole -- a sworn pledge not to see the boy.
NORMANDY PARK, WA - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE) Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau (R) during a photo shoot at her beach front home April 27, 2006 in Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Vili Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The two will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on May 20, 2006. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
Former Seattle teacher Mary Kay Letourneau, whose affair with one of her ex-pupils caused a national scandal, leaves a King County Courtroom in Seattle on February 6 after being sent to prison for 7-1/2 years for seeing the boy again. Letourneau, 36, who had a child with the boy -- now aged 14 -- was ordered to return to prison to finish her full term for violating the main condition of her parole -- a sworn pledge not to see the boy. LETOURNEAU TRIAL
NORMANDY PARK, WA - MAY 8: Mary Letourneau, 43, and her fiance Vili Fualaau, 22, enter their home on May 8, 2005 in the Seattle suburb Normandy Park, WA. Letourneau spent more than 7 years in jail for having sex with Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student, and the two have announced plans to wed this May. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
20/20 - A BARBARA WALTERS EXCLUSIVE - ABC News' Barbara Walters interviews Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and husband Vili Fualaau, on the eve of their 10th anniversary sharing intimate details about their headline-making marriage, which will air on 20/20 on FRIDAY, APRIL 10 (10-11 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) VILI FUALAAU, MARY KAY LETOURNEAU FUALAAU WITH DAUGHTERS AUDREY FUALAAU, GEORGIA FUALAAU
20/20 - A BARBARA WALTERS EXCLUSIVE - ABC News' Barbara Walters interviews Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and husband Vili Fualaau, on the eve of their 10th anniversary sharing intimate details about their headline-making marriage, which will air on 20/20 on FRIDAY, APRIL 10 (10-11 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) VILI FUALAAU, MARY KAY LETOURNEAU FUALAAU WITH DAUGHTERS AUDREY FUALAAU, GEORGIA FUALAAU
NORMANDY PARK, WA - MAY 7: ***EXCLUSIVE, PLEASE CALL YOUR AE FOR PRICING*** Vili Fualaau, 22, walks the beach with his two daughters, by Mary Kay Letourneau, at their beachfront home May 7, 2005 in the Seattle suburb of Normandy Park, Washington. Letourneau spent more than seven years in jail for having sex with Fualaau when he was her 12-year old student. The couple plan to wed somtime this May. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
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At about 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996, police discovered them in a minivan parked at the Des Moines Marina.

Letourneau, then 34, initially told officers the boy was 18, raising suspicions that something sexual was going on. But back at the police station, Fualaau and Letourneau denied there had been any "touching." Instead, they said, Letourneau had been babysitting the boy and took him from her home after she and her husband had a fight.

About two months after the marina incident, Letourneau became pregnant with the couple's first daughter. Their second child was conceived in 1998, after Letourneau had pleaded guilty to child rape and received a 7 1/2-year prison term.

Letourneau and Fualaau married on May 20, 2005, in Woodinville, Washington, after she finished serving time in prison.

Fualaau and Letourneau had previously characterized their relationship as one of love, and even wrote a book together — "Un Seul Crime, L'Amour," or "Only One Crime, Love." Their story was also the subject of a USA Network movie, "All American Girl."

King County court records show Fualaau asked the court for a legal separation from Letourneau on May 9, 2017.

Seattle attorney Anne Bremner befriended Letourneau in 2002, when she represented the Des Moines police department in a lawsuit brought by Fualaau's mother, claiming the city and school district failed to protect him from the teacher. A jury found against the family in the civil action. Bremner visited Letourneau in prison and would meet her for lunch after her release.

"She accepted that it was a crime and that she had to serve her time, but when she got out she didn't dwell," Bremner said. "She moved forward in a very positive way and raised those girls. She was somebody I rooted for. I really wanted her to do well, and she did."

In the civil trial following the multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Fualaau's mother, the police department and school district insisted the romance was so bizarre that no one could have predicted it. The district's lawyer said it began off school grounds after the academic year had ended. Police argued that they simply had no evidence of sexual abuse until it was too late.

Bremner said of Letourneau and Fualauu's relationship: "Everyone said it wouldn't last, but it did, at least for 20 years."

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