How Patriarchy Protects the Female Predator

Arah Iloabugichukwu
11 min readDec 1, 2021

And Why Men Don’t Mind

Brittany Renner at Jackson State University

In 1996, the world met a 34-year-old Seattle teacher and married mother of four, Mary Kay Letourneau. When her illicit affair with a then sixth-grade student, Vili Fualaau, leaked to the public, Letourneau quickly became a household name. A King County police report recounted officers’ discovery of the pair presumably engaged in sexual intercourse in a parked car. Fualaau was 12 years of age at the time. Both denied any sexual contact, despite providing a fake birthday for Fualaau and lying about how they knew each other. Police took the two to the precinct where the minor’s mother instructed officers to return her son to his teacher. And so, they did. However, she maintains police withheld crucial information, mainly the details of their backseat discovery.

Letourneau was finally arrested in March 1997 when a relative of her husband contacted authorities over the unfinished affair. She pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape and entered into a plea agreement that allowed her to serve half of a six-month plea deal, a fraction of her sentence. She somehow dodged the sex offender registry but agreed not to contact Fualaau, their child whom she birthed while awaiting sentencing, or her other four children. However, just weeks after her release, police would find Letourneau and Fualaau in a parked car yet again, only this time with a getaway kit consisting of $6,200 cash, passports, and infant and men’s clothing.

Letourneau photographed with an underage Fualaau

The trial judge revoked Letourneau’s plea agreement and reinstated the original seven-year sentence. While behind bars, she gave televised interviews and published a book defending her ‘eternal’ love. She gave birth to her second child with Fualaau and continued her romantic pursuit through voiced-over love song CDs, threats of self-harm, and sexually explicit love letters. She was released on August 4, 2004.

Less than a year later, she married her former student in a ceremony captured on Entertainment Tonight cameras. Fualaau was 21, Letourneau; 43. When asked, Letourneau said she planned to have another child with her husband and to return to teaching. In their…

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Arah Iloabugichukwu

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