by Hugh Faulkner

She was 35 when she had sex with a 13 year old boy and gave birth to their child. Because of her gender, she was given a second chance to rape again.

The Education
Mary K. Letourneau, an attractive mother of four, lived as many people would want to. She was married to a handsome man, had children, and was a well-respected teacher in a Seattle, Washington suburb. Though most would be satisfied with this life, her insatiable obsession with a former 2nd grade student has gravely affected many lives.

Now, Letourneau will sit in prison for more than 7 years.

Extra Curricular
Letourneau began having sex with a 13 year old boy, one of her former students, in 1996. These incidents of child rape led to her pregnancy and, ultimately, the birth of their child. Letourneau’s husband filed for divorce and took their four children to Alaska. One of the children from this marriage is 13 years old as well. Her obsession with this boy, a mere child, was out of control. She abandoned her family, her career, her morals and the law.

Saying she was in love with the boy, Letourneau sat before her judge and pled for mercy, stating she knew that what she had done was offensive and wrong. “Help me help myself” was her cry, which did not fall on deaf ears. Letourneau received a suspended sentence and spent less than three months in jail – following the birth of her child in May, 1997. The extent of her punishment was to participate in a sex offender program and to have no further contact with the boy she had raped.

Less than a month after her release from jail, predator Letourneau was found in a parked car with the boy – at 3:00am! In what appears to be a plan to flee the area, police found $6,200, a passport, women’s, boy’s and baby clothing, beer and snack food. When confronted by police, Letourneau gave a false name.

Squandering her second chance a freedom – a chance she never should have been given, Letourneau was speedily brought before the same judge and sentenced to serve her full 7 years. Again, as before, Letourneau sat in prison garb sobbing and in tears, her lawyer asking that she be forced to complete her sex offender counseling – outside of jail. In the face of new allegations of sexual contact with the boy shortly after release from prison, additional charges of child rape are being considered which will add to her sentence.

Stiff Judgment
There are so many things wrong with this situation that it’s nearly impossible to list them all. Any prolonged thought on the matter leads to an appalling conclusion that the system allowed this to happen because it was too lenient on a woman who is as disturbing as they come.

In a move that will be questioned for a millennia, the mother of the victim is caring for the infant in her home. In a story replete with selfish motives, the infant, instead of being raised by a loving, adoptive family, will grow up trying to sort out how this all happened. I don’t believe she has a chance at any normalcy.

Though the boy feels love and passion for Letourneau, what else could be expected? What does a 14 year old father know about love, especially after being taken advantage of by an adult? Rather than feeling anger toward the woman who destroyed her adolescent son’s childhood, the mother is accepting of Letourneau and the “love” she shares with the boy. Is it any wonder the boy was out of his house at 3:00am?

In truly predatory fashion, Letourneau had a single objective and abandoned all reason. Her fixation on a boy barely old enough to impregnate her has led to a lifetime of misery which will last long beyond the seven years she spends in jail. Once can only wonder what snapped inside of her to allow this to happen.

Finally, had the perpetrator of this crime been a man, there is little doubt he would have been given a second chance to rape again. Had a man impregnated a 13 year old girl, regardless of her level of consent, the system and community at large would have dealt severely with him – and rightly so.

I believe that someone willing to commit this type of crime cannot be rehabilitated and at the very least should serve the full sentence allowed for by the law, not a measly few months in jail. As expressed in The Inequality of Womanhood the courts treat women much differently than men. As Letourneau showed, a woman can be just as devious, just as heinous and just as destructive as a man. That being true, the punishment should be the same for both sexes, and in a case like this, a rapist should never be given another opportunity.

Now is not the time for men to be giving “atta-boys” at a 13 year old having sex with his teacher, nor is it the time for women to show tenderness to a woman smitten with love. She can be called nothing more than a child rapist and he, a victim.