Barbara Walters interviews Mary Kay Letourneau.
This past Friday I tuned into ABC’s 20/20 program to watch Barbara Walters interview Mary Kay Letourneau. If you recall, this is the former schoolteacher who made national headlines back in 1996 when she was caught having a sexual affair with one of her students. She was 35, the student, Vili Fualaau, was 13.
Letourneau was prosecuted for the “affair” and served 89 months in a federal prison. She also became a registered sex-offender. Eventually, she married her then-student and had two children with him. They will be “celebrating” their 10th wedding anniversary this year.
Letourneau has been unapologetic.
Throughout this entire fiasco, Letourneau has been unapologetic, saying she never saw getting into this relationship as “wrong.” She also does not see herself as a sex-offender. In fact, she is looking to have her sex-offender status removed by the courts.
Now, many people who have followed this story and watched the interview will undoubtedly say that she deserves a second chance and that they are a happily married couple now, so what’s the big deal?
But I say, should everyone not be treated equally when it comes to pedophilia and sex-offenses?
Disparate Treatment Under the Law & in the Court of Public Opinion.
Is there any doubt that if Letourneau happened to be a man, and an unattractive man, at that, this case would be looked in a different light? There would be little sympathy for such a man, even if he wound up marrying his victim. But Letourneau is an attractive woman so many people rationalize the severity of her actions. Is a pedophile not a pedophile regardless of gender, race, wealth and social status? For many, evidently not!
Celebrities like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Steven Collins are treated far differently by people, the media and the courts when it comes to sex and sex-crimes than, let’s say, men who live in our nation’s ghettos. Again, is a sex-offender not a sex-offender if he/she happens to be a wealthy celebrity? And, can only men be sex-offenders and pedophiles, and not attractive women?
Mary Kay Letourneau talks about the pain her children went through because of this case, but she obviously doesn’t think about the pain caused by an adult having sex with a 13-year-old. The choices she made not only had profound consequences for her, but her children, husband and entire family.
What do you think of the Mary Kay Letourneau case and its implications on our society?
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles.