Teacher who had student's children to be freed

August 4, 2004 - 1:38PM

Lessons in love ... Former elementary school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau with her student lover Vili Fualaau.


An American teacher jailed for seducing a young student and having two children with him is to be freed.

Mary Kay Letourneau, 42, is to to be released tomorrow from a women's state prison after serving a seven-year sentence for child rape.

State Department of Corrections officials are divulging no details about her release.

Letourneau has not said if she will reunite with Vili Fualaau, now 21, with whom she has two children.

"I'm not allowing myself to think about being with him," Letourneau told Seattle's KOMO-TV. "We had a beautiful relationship, and I value it for what it was."

Letourneau was a 34-year-old elementary school teacher in suburban Des Moines, Washington, and a married mother of four in 1996 when her friendship with the then 12-year-old Fualaau became sexual.

"We had sex in the gym, we had sex in the girl's bathroom and we had sex in her classroom," Fualaau testified in a 2002 civil trial.

When Letourneau was arrested in 1997, she was already pregnant with Fualaau's daughter. A judge sentenced her to six months for second-degree child rape, and ordered her to stay away from Fualaau.

A month after her release, however, Letourneau was caught having sex with Fualaau in her car. She was sent to prison for seven and a half years, and gave birth to Fualaau's second daughter behind bars.

"Nothing could have kept the two of them apart," Seattle attorney Anne Bremner said.

Bremner struck up a friendship with Letourneau in 2002, while defending police against a civil lawsuit filed by Fualaau and his mother, alleging the police and school district failed to protect him. A jury rejected their claims.

Letourneau, who sang in the choir and recorded books on tape for the blind while in prison, wanted to try to build a normal life, Bremner said.

"She wants to be a mother, she wants to be a responsible member of society," she said.

As a condition of her release, Letourneau cannot contact Fualaau.

Fualaau told People magazine recently he would like to reunite with Letourneau but wanted to take things slowly.

He is unemployed and told the magazine he was working on his high school equivalency diploma. His mother is raising their children.

"I don't know what my feelings are right now," Fualauu told Seattle television station KING today, acknowledging he was "kind of nervous".

"But I know that I do love her."

Bremner said Letourneau still felt for Fualaau. "She's always said this love is eternal and endless, and I think she stands by that," Bremner said.

Letourneau's two daughters with Fualaau are now six and seven.

They visited her in prison about twice a month. Her four older children live in Alaska with her ex-husband and visited a few times a year.

As a sex offender, Letourneau will have to register with the state and receive court-ordered treatment. Authorities will notify her new neighbours - although the TV trucks will probably tip them off first. Seven years in prison has done little to dim Letourneau's notoriety.

"People are fascinated by scandal," Bremner said. "Love somehow made her do things that led to complete catastrophe. Then there's the side of watching a train wreck - you can't look away even if you want to."