Mary Letourneau and Ex-Pupil to Wed

Letourneau, ex-pupil to wed (MSNBC)

Mary K. Letourneau, the former Burien elementary school teacher who had an illegal intimate relationship with one of her sixth-grade students, plans to wed the man she was convicted of raping.Letourneau, 43, and Vili Fualaau, 22, plan to wed April 16, according to an online bridal registry. “It’s been long overdue,” said Noel Soriano, a longtime friend of the family who confirmed yesterday that they will marry this spring. “It’s going to be fabulous, seeing them get hitched finally.”

The relationship, which began when Fualaau was a student in Letourneau’s class at Shorewood Elementary School in 1996, has endured despite their 22-year age difference, Fualaau’s unsuccessful 2002 civil suit against Letourneau’s former school district and her 7 1/2-year prison sentence for child rape. Letourneau was a married mother of four when she began a sexual relationship with the then-12-year-old Fualaau. She was pregnant with Fualaau’s first child when she was arrested in 1997 and ordered to serve a six-month sentence for second-degree child rape. One month after she was released, Letourneau was caught having sex with Fualaau in her car. She pleaded guilty in 1997 to two charges of child rape, and gave birth to the couple’s second daughter while serving her 7 1/2-year sentence. Fualaau’s mother is raising their two daughters, aged 6 and 7.

Shortly after Letourneau was released from prison last August, the pair successfully petitioned a King County judge to lift a no-contact order that had barred them from seeing each other. Once the order was lifted, the couple began seeing each other regularly. They became engaged when Fualaau proposed last fall, and they have been trying to keep wedding details under wraps, Soriano said. But with a guest list that will include more than 200 people, the news was bound to come out sooner or later, he said.

What a truly bizarre story–one that I suspect would have been perceived radically differently were the genders reversed. Still, Fualaau is no longer a minor so the couple are free to do as they wish.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Oh good God. 200 people? I don’t really care either, but I do wonder how much cash People magazine will fork over for the rights to wedding photos.

  2. McCain says:

    What a sweet Valentine’s Day story. 🙂

  3. Kent says:

    … There are 200 people with the stomach to attend the wedding?

  4. McGehee says:

    Plenty stomach, not so plenty brains, IMO.

  5. SCOTT says:

    These guys before me problably wishes they had this happen to them at 12 and now are jealous!!!!!!