Mary Kay Letourneau — the former Washington state teacher who rose to infamy for having a sexual relationship with a sixth-grade student she later married — has died after suffering from cancer. She was 58.
Attorney David Gerke, who represented her in the case that shocked America, told local outlet KING-TV that Letourneau had been battling Stage 4 cancer.
“It was expected but sad anyway,” he added to KOMO-TV. “She was a good person.”
In the summer of 1996, Letourneau was a 34-year-old married mother of four when her relationship with her 12-year-old pupil Vilo Fualaau turned sexual.
She made international headlines when she pleaded guilty in 1997 to raping the student.
Her first child with Fualaau, a daughter named Audrey, was born in May 1997 while she was awaiting sentencing.
Through a plea deal, Letourneau’s sentence was reduced to six months — but two weeks after her release she was caught having sex with the teen in a car and sent back to the slammer.
By then, she was pregnant with the couple’s second child, another girl named Georgia, who was born behind bars.
The kids were raised by Fualaau’s mother until Letourneau’s release about seven years later.
The teacher-student pair married in 2005. But the union ultimately didn’t last, they divorced last year, according to PEOPLE.
Letourneau was working as a paralegal sometime before her death, and said in 2018 that she wanted to use her newfound skills to scrub her name from the sex offenders’ registry.
During their marriage, Fualaau maintained that he did not see himself as the victim of a sexual predator.
“I’m not a victim. I’m not ashamed of being a father. I’m not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay,” he said in 2013.