Mary Kay Letourneau, the grade school teacher convicted for having sex with a sixth-grade pupil, was released from prison early Wednesday, and her now 21-year-old former lover is challenging a court order that bars her from contacting him.
Letourneau, who served 7½ years in prison, slipped unnoticed past the hordes of reporters and gawkers outside the Washington Corrections Center for Women before dawn.
As a condition of her release, Letourneau, 42, can’t contact former pupil Vili Fualaau, the father of two of her children.
But Wednesday morning, Fualaau’s attorney, N. Scott Stewart, filed a motion to vacate the no-contact order. Fualaau “does not fear Mary K. Letourneau,” the motion argues, adding that the sole basis for criminal charges was Fualaau’s age.
“He is now an adult and, as an adult, is requesting that the court allow him to associated with other adults of his own choosing, specifically Mary K. Letourneau,” it says.
The prosecutor’s office is reviewing the motion, spokesman Dan Donohoe said, and had not yet decided whether to agree to it or request a hearing before a judge.
A friend, Noel Soriano, told NBC’s “Today” show that Fualaau was “relieved that she’s out of prison and currently he can’t wait to see her.”
Letourneau, who sang in the choir and recorded books-on-tape for the blind while in prison, wants to try to build a normal life, said Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who struck up a friendship with Letourneau in 2002 and spoke to her recently by phone.
“She wants to be a mother, she wants to be a responsible member of society.”
Letourneau will be treated as a sex offender
As a sex offender, Letourneau will have to register with the state and receive court-ordered treatment. Authorities will notify her new neighbors — although the TV trucks will probably tip them off first. More than seven years in prison has done little to dim Letourneau’s notoriety.
A small crowd gathered outside the prison gates on Tuesday night — a few families and some rowdy teenage boys flaunting signs that said “I’m 18, Baby” and “Take Me Home” for the TV cameras.
Letourneau was a 34-year-old elementary school teacher in suburban Seattle and a married mother of four in 1996 when her friendship with the then-12-year-old Fualaau mutated into flirtation and then sex.
The illicit relationship was revealed when Letourneau’s husband, Steve, found love letters from the boy. Steve Letourneau later moved to Alaska with the couple’s children and was granted a divorce.
Two daughters with Fualaau
When Letourneau was arrested in 1997, she was already pregnant with Fualaau’s daughter. A judge sentenced her to six months in jail for second-degree child rape, and ordered her to stay away from Fualaau.
But the temptation proved too much for her to resist. A month after Letourneau was released, she was caught having sex with Fualaau in her car, a violation of her parole. She was sent to prison for seven and a half years, and gave birth to Fualaau’s second daughter behind bars.
“This case is not about a flawed system. This is about an opportunity that you foolishly squandered,” King County Superior Court Judge Linda Lau told Letourneau at her sentencing, referring to the lenient terms she had earlier imposed.
Letourneau’s two daughters with Fualaau are now 5 and 7. They visited her in prison about twice a month. Her four older children visited a few times a year.
Letourneau may now want to tell her own story. A state appeals court ruled in 2000 that she may sell and profit from her story. She has also expressed interest in working for a group that advocates for the rights of mothers in prison.
As for trying to reconnect with Fualaau, Letourneau was mum. “I’m not allowing myself to think about being with him,” Letourneau told Seattle’s KOMO-TV earlier this week. “We had a beautiful relationship, and I value it for what it was.”
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Letourneau or her lawyers were unsuccessful.
Fualaau told People magazine recently that he’d like to reunite with Letourneau, but wants to take things slowly. He is unemployed and told the magazine he is working on his GED. His mother is raising their children. Fualaau’s phone number is unlisted.
“I don’t know what my feelings are right now,” Fualaau told KING-TV on Tuesday, acknowledging he was “kind of nervous.”
“But I know that I do love her,” he said.