Teachers hold a special position of trust in our community and are strong influencers in the young, impressionable minds of our children. Our kids often look up to them, sometimes aspire to be them and often count them as a role model.
Some teachers, who through whatever warped sense of right and wrong decide it is okay to impart their knowledge, and indeed actions, on things other than reading, writing and arithmetic.
There have been many such stories, but one which has both enraged and intrigued the public is the case of Mary Kay Letourneau’s love affair with a former student, Vili Fualaao, which began in the early nineties when he was just thirteen years old. With a tensioned filled marriage and a husband who cheated, she was perhaps unaware that Vili had sexual fantasies about his sixth grade teacher who had befriended him and allowed him to spend time at her marital home. He had supposedly, even had a bet with a friend that he could ‘sleep with the Teach’!
Her father was an aspiring politician, winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1970 and while her school years were filled with cheerleading, parties, boys and travelling it was during her time at college that her father, in a twist that although not known at the time would be repeated by Mary Kay years later, was outed as being involved in a sex scandal with another woman, who had once been his student. This relationship resulted in two children. Mary took her father’s side in this, but was not interested in being drawn into it, not wanting to interrupt the party lifestyle she was enjoying at college.
Her partying ways soon caught up with her and finding herself pregnant she ignored advice and decided to have the baby and get married. She dropped out of college and after three more children she was in a troubled, financially stressed marriage with a man who was a serial cheater. She was a hard worker though, loved children and decided that she still wanted to become a teacher. So, caring for her children by day and studying at night, she finally graduated with a teaching degree in 1989.
Mary Kay loved teaching and her students loved her. She first met Vili when he came into her second grade class. It was clear he was talented at art and she made a special effort to encourage him. When she was promoted in 1995 and assigned to fifth and sixth grades she again encountered Vili who became amongst others, teacher’s pet. Other teachers noticed and commented on the relationship between them, saying it appeared more like a couple of adolescents flirting than teacher and student.
Over the ensuing summer break they took art classes together and Vili and his brother often spent time at Mary Kay’s home with her other children, much to the chagrin of her husband.
After witnessing an argument between Mary Kay and her husband, Vili took off, closely followed by Mary Kay. That was the beginning. A few days later, they had sex for the first time, with Vili claiming it was repeated on over three hundred occasions. It was a scandal which shocked the country, but none more so than her conservative Catholic family even though it seemed she was simply repeating the sins of her father.
Mary quickly became pregnant with Vili’s child and though those around her recommended termination, she confided to her friend that she was in love and had finally found her soul mate. Eventually her husband’s cousin reported her to Child Protective Services and the School District authority.
She was placed under arrest for statutory rape, even though Vili and his mother (who stated she disapproved of the sexual nature of the relationship), both said he was not the victim he was being portrayed to be in the media and thought the case should never have been prosecuted!
The real victims in this case were Mary Kay’s children. Suddenly without a mother, hearing her described as a child rapist. Her students also lost a teacher they loved and were confused and upset at also hearing some of the unsavoury facts of the case.
Mary Kay and Vili’s baby, a girl, was born whilst she was on bail, and despite court orders Mary Kay allowed Vili to visit and assist with the child’s care. She argued in court that she did not deserve to be punished for a relationship that was motivated by love. It was also suggested that there was no crime committed as Vili initiated the sex.
In the end Mary Kay won a deal and plead guilty to child rape, later released on probation after serving only three months and agreeing to participate in a sex offenders treatment program. One of her parole conditions was that she was never to have contact with Vili again, to which she agreed. Barely a month after her release from prison, however, she was arrested for violating parole. She was sentenced to the maximum of seven and a half years in prison, where after being found to be pregnant again, she gave birth to Vili’s second daughter.
Mary Kay was released from prison in August 2004 and at the age of forty-two barely three months later the couple became engaged. They were married in May 2005 amidst a media circus and their two children now live with them after being cared for by Vili’s mother. Mary Kay’s own children are also a part of their lives.
SOURCE Crime Library