Teacher felt deep remorse about sexually abusing student before she died

A disgraced US teacher who gained infamy after she lured a 12-year-old pupil into a sexual relationship who she later married felt remorse about what she did, according to a source.

Mary Kay Letourneau, who died of cancer last year, was a 34-year-old married mum-of-four when her relationship with year six schoolboy Vili Fualaau became sexual in June 1996.

The abusive relationship was first discovered when officers found Mr Fualaau and Letourneau in a minivan parked in Des Moines Marina, in suburban Seattle.

"At the end of your life, you start reassessing a lot of things," said a source, who received a letter from Letourneau about six weeks before she died, via People. "And she was trying to make her peace, not only with everyone else, but with herself."

"The bottom line was that she understood on a very deep level that she had really made a mess of her life and the lives of many other people back in 1996," said the friend.

"She realised that even though things turned out relatively good, that she was responsible for a wide swath of destruction by her actions. She apologised to a lot of people for a lot of things."

Ultimately, she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape.

When they were found in the minivan in Des Moines, Letourneau told officers the boy was 18, which raised suspicions that the pair had been engaged in sex.

At the police station, Mr Fualaau and Letourneau denied there had been any “touching”.

They said, instead, that Letourneau had been babysitting the schoolboy and took him from her home after she and her husband had a fight.

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Around two months after the pair were questioned, Letourneau became pregnant with Fualaau’s child.

She pleaded guilty to raping the boy the following year. Their daughter Audrey was born as Letourneau was awaiting sentencing.

Letourneau’s sentence was reduced to six months via a plea deal – but just two weeks after she was released, police caught her having sex with the teen in a car and she was jailed once again.

While serving a seven-year prison sentence, Letourneau gave birth to their second child – Georgia – who was born behind bars. The children were raised by Fualaau’s mum until Letourneau was released.

During an interview in 2013, Fualaau said he did not see himself as a rape victim and that his then-wife was a sexual predator.

He added: “I’m not a victim. I’m not ashamed of being a father. I’m not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay.”

However, the couple divorced in August last year, with Fualaau reportedly eventually admitting earlier this year that the relationship was not healthy.

A source close to him previously told PEOPLE: "He's starting to get some perspective. He sees things clearly now, and realises that this wasn't a healthy relationship from the start."

In the recent interview with the publication, the source close to Letourneau said: "Absolutely nothing she did during that stage of her life should ever be emulated," says the source. "She understood that, more acutely at the end of her life. She felt deep remorse."

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