Mary Kay LeTourneau, former teacher who married one of her students, dies from cancer

National News

FILE – In this Feb. 6, 1998, file photo, Mary Kay Letourneau listens to testimony during a court hearing in Seattle Letourneau, who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted for raping him, has died. She was 58. Her lawyer David Gehrke told news outlets Letourneau died Tuesday, July 7, 2020, of cancer. The former suburban Seattle teacher was arrested in 1997 after she became pregnant with Vili Fualaau’s child. She later pleaded guilty to second-degree child rape. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool, File)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Mary Kay LeTourneau, the former Washington middle school teacher who began a sexual relationship with a student when he was just 12, has died of cancer. According to People Magazine, people close to LeTourneau say she battled Stage 4 cancer for several months before succumbing to the disease.

LeTourneau was catapulted into the spotlight in the 90s when she was arrested for having an affair with her sixth-grade student, Vili Fualaau. Letourneau was a married mother of four having difficulties with her marriage in 1996 when she met Vili Fualaau as a 12-year-old student in her class at Shorewood Elementary in Burien, which is a south Seattle suburb.

On June 19, 1996, their relationship was almost found out when police discovered them in a minivan together.

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)

Letourneau, who was 34 at the time, initially told officers Fualaau was 18 because police suspected something sexual was going on. But according to the Associated Press, 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, which was suspended on condition she have no contact with Fualaau.

NORMANDY PARK, WA – MAY 8: ***EXCLUSIVE, PLEASE CALL YOUR AE FOR PRICING*** 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)

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

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

The Associated Press contributed to the writing of this report.

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