The former schoolteacher convicted of child rape leaves prison after seven years

By Stephen M. Silverman
August 05, 2004 09:00 AM

Former schoolteacher Mary Kay Letourneau, 42, who became infamous for having sex with one of her sixth-grade students, was released from Washington Corrections Center for Women on Wednesday after serving seven years behind bars.

Her relationship with Vili Fualaau, now 21, which produced two daughters, began in 1996 when Letourneau was a 34-year-old married mother of four.

On Thursday’s “Today” show, Fualaau said he wasn’t sure he would know what to say when he and Letourneau meet again, though he looks forward to seeing her. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said of her release. “I want to see if she is the same person I fell in love with.” He added that he doesn’t want his children to be at the reunion (which should take place at the end of this month), because he wants time alone with Letourneau.

Fualaau recently told PEOPLE 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.

As for Letourneau, she told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO that her focus will be on being a mother to her six children – the four she had with her ex-husband Steve Letourneau, and the girls she had with Fualaau (Audrey, 7, and Georgia, almost 6, being raised by Fualaau’s mother) – and not on reuniting with her former lover, though she still feels close to him.

“I’m not allowing myself to think about being with him,” she said. “We had a beautiful relationship, and I value it for what it was.”

Her feelings do not rule out having another child with Fualaau, she also said: “If we are so blessed to continue a relationship and if that’s what he wants, for him I would.”

Regrets? “Knowing what we had, I should have waited.”