Jul. 8, 2020

THE LOSS OF A CHILDHOOD IS THE LOSS OF A LIFETIME.

Since the nineties, I've been fascinated with this story and sensed it would have a tragic ending. After reading extensively about Mary Kay Latourneau, I strongly-believe that—emotionally-- she never grew up. She was simply a "little girl" who wanted to love and be loved. I understood her. Someone had stolen her childhood and—all her life—she kept trying to get it back.

I easily-identified with Mary Kay.   My childhood was also stolen...by my mother. Not a day goes by... I don’t miss it. 

"Mary Kay Letourneau, a onetime teacher who became a tabloid fixture in the late 1990s after she raped a 12year-old student and later married him…. died on Tuesday at her home in Des Moines, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. She was 58 years old. Her attorney, David Gehrke, said the cause of death was cancer. At her death, she was surrounded by her children and Vili Fualaau, the former student she later married.

Ms. Letourneau and Mr. Fualaau had two children together before he turned 15. They both defended the relationship as consensual, and the couple married in 2005 after she had served a seven-year prison term. Ms. Letourneau was widely condemned for her predatory behavior toward the child, but many people long held a fascination with their relationship, which continued well into Mr. Fualaau’s adulthood. The couple split up in 2019.

Ms. Letourneau was a teacher in the Highline School District, near Seattle, where she taught Mr. Fualaau in the second and sixth grades. She was 34 when she began a sexual relationship with Mr. Fualaau in 1996, when he was 12 or 13.  They had their first child in 1997 as she awaited sentencing after pleading guilty to charges of second-degree child rape. After serving three months of a reduced sentence in prison, she defied court orders to stay away from Mr. Fualaau, leading to her return to prison for a seven-year sentence. She gave birth to their second child in 1998, shortly after beginning her second stint in prison.  Mr. Fualaau has maintained in recent years that he did not consider Ms. Letourneau abusive.

Upon her release from prison in 2004, Ms. Letourneau, was required to have no contact with Mr. Fualaau--who, by then, was 21 years old.  But, he fought to have the order removed and the couple married in 2005.

She consistently portrayed the relationship as a forbidden love:  “Am I sorry he’s the father of my children, and that we’re married and this is the man of my life? No, I am not,” she said in an A&E documentary.

Ms. Letourneau was born in Tustin, Calif., on Jan. 30, 1962, and attended Arizona State University, where she met Steve Letourneau, her first husband. The couple had four children together and divorced in 1999, while she was in prison. Her father, John Schmitz, was an ultraconservative U.S. representative who ran for president in 1972 as a member of the American Independent Party. One of her brothers, Joseph E. Schmitz, was the inspector general of the Department of Defense, an executive at Blackwater Worldwide and a onetime foreign policy adviser for President Trump. Another brother, John P. Schmitz, was a deputy counsel to President George H.W. Bush.

Anne Bremner, a lawyer who was a friend of Ms. Letourneau’s for nearly 20 years, said that, as she neared death, Ms. Letourneau hoped people would see her as someone who had served her time and gone on to raise two daughters with Mr. Fualaau and--- to have a positive impact on the people around her.  “She was always a really good person,” Ms. Bremner said. “She was always a really good friend.”  Ms. Bremner revealed that Ms. LeTourneau had been suffering from cancer for the last nine months.

Mr. Fualaau said in the A&E documentary that “at the end of the day, it was a real love story.”