true crime

Vili and Mary began "dating" when he was 12 and she was 34. Here's where they are now.

American school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau was 34 years old when she first raped 12-year-old Vili Fualaau.

The pair had met in 1992 when the boy was in second grade at Shorewood Elementary School in the Seattle suburb of Burien, and entered an illegal sexual relationship four years later.

“The incident was a late night that didn’t stop with a kiss,” Letourneau told ABC of the first assault. “And I thought that it would and it didn’t.”

Yet Letourneau argued it was more than physical for her. She’d developed an affection for the boy, sparked by extra time she spent with him to foster his talent for drawing.

He was just 1.5 years older than her eldest son.

Yet when asked by interviewer Barbara Walters if she was ashamed or disgusted by her actions, she replied, “I loved him very much, and I kind of thought, ‘Why can’t it ever just be a kiss?’”

Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau. Image: ABC.

The abuse went on in secret for months, and resulted in her falling pregnant with their first child around the middle of 1996. It ultimately took Letourneau's husband discovering a letter she'd written for the situation to be uncovered.

Police interviewed Fualaau and, on February 25, 1997, his abuser was hauled out of a staff meeting, arrested and charged with sexual assault.

As the headlines circulated around the world, Letourneau gave birth on May 29, 1997, and three months later plead guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape.

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Letourneau was handed a suspended sentence of 89 months in November 1997, and served six months in county jail before being released on parole under the condition she attended counselling and didn't contact Fualaau.

But within a matter of weeks, she once again raped him and once again fell pregnant with his child.

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The parole violation saw her return to prison for the full 7.5-year sentence, where she gave birth to their second daughter behind bars on October 16, 1998.

mary kay letourneau separating from husband
Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau. Image: ABC.

By the time she was released, her husband had divorced her, it was a new century, and Fualaau was an adult - 21 years old.

Within ten months, in May 2005, they wed.

"It was a huge relief to actually get married... [after] just going through all those years and then having so many questions and them not being answered," Falaau told ABC.

Together they raised their daughters, now adults. But today, after 12 years of marriage, it was reported that Fualaau has filed for legal separation.

According to TMZ, the 33-year-old lodged the petition earlier this month.

The couple's friend and former attorney, David Gehrke, told People wasn't surprised that they got married but also isn't that they have split.

“I’m convinced they were totally in love,” he said. “But sometimes, people who are totally in love have trouble staying in love. They slowly drift apart.”

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