Unethical Photograph Of The Year


Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and Vili Fualaau are seen here with their two teenage daughters, Audrey and Georgia. Both are older now than when mom raped dad, who was a student in her 6th grade class. She was 34 and married with four kids. They have been married for 10 years now, and 20/20 will be doing a story on the couple.

I won’t be watching.

Here’s the Rationalization List. How many will be applied to this cheery photo?

I count 13.

Pointer: Rhonda Hill

45 thoughts on “Unethical Photograph Of The Year

  1. Okay, I got 1, 3, 4, (present day), 6, 8, 9, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 (x 3),29 (because what 6th grader doesn’t dream of bedding a decent-looking teacher), 30, 32 (Mohammed as reference), 33 (he was small back then), 36 (what gal can resist a guy with a Big Wheel?), 38, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47.

  2. Add another rationalization, and call it the “Letourneau Deviants’ Excuse: “Attention whores and attention pimps gotta whore and pimp, respectively.” I saw the headline about the coming TV show. There is one more channel and one more time slot for which I’ll have better things to do than watch that whoring and pimping. Poor bastards, those advertisers.

  3. What I find obnoxious about you is that you advertise this as an “ethics” blog but then apply your own biased and slanted opinion to every post. If you truly cared to discuss ethics like an intelligent and open-minded adult who explored both sides of the issue (I.e. a freethinker), then you might be interesting.

    But it seems you’d rather just scream your own opinion at other people, and I find that both boring and infuriating.

    Oh, comment in this if you would: A porn star was “raped”. How can someone who is paid to be raped on camera also be raped in real life? Is it not redundant? Is it truly rape or simple theft?

    • ‘Obnoxious’, ‘biased’, ‘slanted’, ‘boring’ and ‘infuriating’? Well then, don’t let the door hit you on the way out….

      Ok….let’s say an actor who specializes in action movies (pick anyone) is murdered. It’s not murder, because he’s ‘faked’ being killed a couple dozen times? Really?

      • Matt is an idiot, to be blunt. In the last week he has posted 10 outrageous, off the wall, depressing—there are free-range people like this—and worthless comments on several posts. This wasn’t even the dumbest. It’s close, but I’d pick this one, perhaps because it is such a vigorous defense of an ethics ignorance. He was commenting on the post condemning the lawyer who essentially said his own client was guilty, and bleated…

        Believing or even knowing that the client is guilty is not a good reason??? Well, if you think that then I think you and the rest of this corrupt world should literally burn in Hell, because that’s just evil and unconscionable.

        So yes, he’s an idiot. Now, do I just let him keep posting embarrassing comments for laughs, or kick him off? I’m inclined to do the latter.

    • I covered the issue of whether a prostitute can be raped (of course she can—no still means no), which is a dubious issue at best. YOUR question raises an idiotic non-issue. No wonder you think I should waste time discussing theoretical and useless arguments rather than make the best analysis I can and let intelligent people mull it over and find a better way if they can using objective analytical principles explain ed here.

      I’m amused that you would pick this post to express your complaint. You really think there is a valid argument that a teacher seducing and raping a 12-year-old boy entrusted to her care for non-sexual education isn’t unethical, not to matter criminal and indefensible? What are you doing on an ethics blog? Surely there is a trolling techniques blog out there. My guess is, however, that it will encourage you not to make an assertion and then instantly destroy your credibility by asking a jaw-droppingly moronic question.

      ” How can someone who is paid to be raped on camera also be raped in real life? “
      demonstrates that your critique of EA is based on no actual reading here at all, or perhaps complete inability to comprehend what is explored–like law, ethics, compliance, and how so much of the public is too ethically ignorant to distinguish right from wrong.

      The key concept is consent, you boob. A porn star isn’t being raped on camera, because she’s having sex for compensation, meaning she has contracted to do it, meaning she has consented, indeed promised to do it. Pretending to be raped doesn’t mean she is raped—when you learn a bit more about ethics basics, I’d suggest brushing up a bit on drama—hey, I can do that for you too, since I run a theater company and am a professional director! See, Matt, when people act out something for entertainment–their own or an audience’s—it isn’t real. So, for example, if consenting adults decide to have a sexual encounter as a rape fantasy, the woman can’t claim rape. It’s pretend rape. Like in a movie. You did know movies were pretend too, right? Or will your next question be why whether shooting an actor is murder, if that actor has been killed on screen?

      You posted an entry on your pathetic blog with your almost as embarrassing comment. That means that this was essentially spamming, and I deleted the link. This isn’t your billboard. I will allow an established commenter to post links to their blogs, and newer commenters when the post is independently substantive and advances the issue. I probably should have included this in the comment policies, and I’m sorry to spring it on you, but when the link is to content so cosmically stupid as one with a statement like this—“Cytherea is not an innocent victim either. The porn that she did/does is destroying our society. She and her fellow porn stars are basically false gods who encourage the sexual objectification of women and serve as an addictive drug that drains the life and soul from men”—it is too dumb for this blog. That one made my brains start to run out my ears, but maybe that was my soul being drained. Oh—add “The Constitution” to the things you are inexcusably ignorant about.

      It is funny though: in your own post, unlike most posts here, you didn’t touch any of the arguments that counter your silly ones, which is especially ironic since those arguments are the only valid ones, unlike “You can rape an actress legally because she pretended to be raped.”—you’re welcome. I’m sure it was an oversight. You can link to this, and you’ll have the balance you insist on.

  4. Beyond a certain point, like when the count for one item goes above three distinct rationalizations, I really don’t care about fine tuning the count. That gives the offender some kind of twisted cheevy for getting the most rationalizations. Their kids have a huge conflict of interest in the topic of underage sex, so I hope they are more aware of issues than a TV reporter is likely to ask or comment on. They look cute, so everything must be alright?

    I’m not as sure as I know of four teenage parents and it limits their careers and their ability to support said children. Teenage parents were more common when we were a simpler society with shorter training. About a twelve year old parent is NOT the borderline of a 17 or possibly sixteen who might be mature enough. Twelve is firmly a child, so sex is completely in the ‘do no harm’ to a child which should be part of every adult’s education. So I give the photo a ‘TOTAL FAIL’ because the number no longer matters.

  5. If the genders were reversed and this was an older male teacher who did a young girl he’d still be in jail and the public would be calling for his castration. Running this story only reinforces double standards. Either way the story is a big moral, ethical, and spiritual YUK!

    • If there is a double standard, does this not mean the standard itself is illegitimate and should be abandoned?

      (Not that we should reduce the age of consent to 13; no legislature would dare even bring that up to a vote, not would an initiative petition even get a tenth of the number of required signatures to put it on the ballot in any state.)

  6. It’s disgusting on so many levels. I won’t be watching either.

    That woman should never be allowed in front of a class again. What she did was a betrayal of trust and authority. Even after her initial release from a ridiculously light sentence, she chose to violate the boy again, causing her to be sent back to prison.

    The double standard cannot be more glaring than it is in this case. A male teacher would never have been released so soon to contact his victim again. A male teacher wouldn’t be celebrated for marrying the girl, whether she was of legal age or not when the marriage took place, and staying together for ten years.

    And ten years proves nothing. It’s not evidence of a happy, stable, healthy relationship. Yet the enablers out there will point to it as proof that these two are star-crossed lovers meant for each other.

    There are age of consent laws for a reason. I do agree that individual kids mature at different levels, but the law can’t start making exceptions because a 13-year old girl acts like she’s 17 or a 12-year old boy thinks he’s Don Juan. It’s on the adult to set appropriate boundaries when it comes to a minor, regardless of how mature the child is or how attached she’s gotten to him. Mary Kay Letourneau chose to value her own wants over the well-being of a 12-year old boy. I question whether it really is ‘every boy’s dream’ to be seduced by his teacher, but even if it’s true, a ten-year anniversary doesn’t mean Vili’s growth and development wasn’t affected by this relationship.

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that television audiences will be revolted by this celebritizing of a sex offender and that real dialogue would begin, not only about the differences in sentencing between male and female predators, but also how society tends to minimize the victimization of boys…especially when a woman is the perpetrator.

    • I hope they do air it. I think that it might be the sort of thing that shakes more people awake and gets them alarmed about how far we’ve plunged as a society. It’s probably too much to hope for, though. Too many probably feel helpless and overwhelmed, or don’t care.

    • [Reply to A.M. Golden April 10, 9:19 a.m.]
      But A.M., these are more sophisticated, enlightened and progressive times we live in, today. People have a right to love whom they choose to love. (Except, as we know or should know, it isn’t a choice.) We who oppose love equality are a subspecies of ignorant, intolerant monsters whose extinction is imminent. Mary Kay and Vili are not second-class citizens.

      So, since there is nothing wrong with Mary Kay’s and Vili’s love for each other, then the only thing wrong with them in the coming picture show is that they are attention whores. Nevertheless, one commenter here evidently may be drooling with anticipation (and may indeed be in dire need) of watching. Let us not lose sight of our cause for the greater good for which we aim: Equality.

      • You know, eventually all the keyboards I keep destroying with spewed coffee because of you are going to catch up to you, don’t you?

        • [Reply to dragin_dragon April 10 at 10:59 am]
          I apologize for any keyboard you have lost because of me. Really, I am truly sorry. I am aware and admit that a demonic part of me is celebrating my effect on you as you have indicated – like some post-touchdown end-zone dance – but that demonic part wants me to connect with others in a way that the better, ethical part of me knows I ought not aspire to employ.

          I really have tried of late (though it may seem as if I haven’t even been trying) to cut my sarcasm and snideness. I owe Jack, and all who follow here including fellow commenters, better than my trollish venting.

          I sincerely would like to do my part to elevate the dialogue. But to do that, I must continue working to elevate the quality of my responses to the scenarios Jack introduces. I have a long way to go to get better; for me, it is THE most taxing mental challenge I have faced to date. My aim: to be at least as clear and effectual in communicating here as I have become on my job, as a result of many years of very hard work. You don’t want to know the details of how I have struggled with that same “trigger-happy troll” demon on my job. Sure, I have made impacts at work – but they have come at considerable costs to others and my clients as well as to myself, because of my self-soothing (but unethical, I am sure) ways of “helping” others to understand why what I aim to make happen matters and is good.

          I can’t improve all alone. I must continue reading and studying what Jack, you, and many commenters say, and how you all say what you say. So I would rather never again cost anyone a keyboard owing to my lower quality commenting. I just wish I knew I had time to hang around long enough to be as constructive a commenter as you and so many others already are. Onward, with hope…and with invulnerable keyboards.

          • Lucky, first of all, I consider it a badge of honor to have cost someone a keyboard. So many comments here and other places are FRIGHTENINGLY grim, dry and agenda-oriented, you (and others, as well. Tex comes immediately to mind, as well as Jack, himself) are like a breath of fresh air. It has never hurt anybody to laugh, even if that laugh starts out snorting a mouthful of coffee, tea, Coke, whatever. I will continue to comment here as long as Jack lets me, and as long as I can get an occasional chuckle, belly-laugh, and, yes, coffee-stained keyboard from something totally unexpected. Don’t change a thing about the way you communicate. You are clear, articulate and (sometimes) persuasive, not to mention your satire is vastly amusing. Anyway, this is way off track, but I wanted you to know I wasn’t finding fault, but was laughing myself silly, as, I think, you intended.

        • Once, a very wise man told me “You can have liberty or you can have equality…you can’t have both”. I thought about it and he is right. They are mutually exclusive.

  7. I am conflicted — not about the crime or TV airing this program — that’s loathsome.

    The fact remains though that they ARE a family. My (minimal) understanding about how child predator laws work is that she wouldn’t be deemed a risk to her own children — perhaps just other people’s children. So, the law would deem it okay to raise her daughters. Arguably, these kids would be worse off if placed in CPS — that’s usually the case, even with parents as messed up as these two.

    So, while I won’t add to this family’s celebrity, these kids are entitled to have family photos that they cherish.

    • “My (minimal) understanding about how child predator laws work is that she wouldn’t be deemed a risk to her own children — perhaps just other people’s children.”

      Right… But don’t you see how backwards that is? If a male teacher statutorily raped a 13 year old female student, would you have the same opinion? Does it really matter if she liked it? Does it make it better if they get married later? If they don’t get married, but he is deemed the better parent, does he get custody? Does she pay child support? We’ve gendered these scenarios in a way that utterly breaks title IX.

      • And to add to that: “Just because I raped my spouse doesn’t mean I’ll rape my children” is just as stupid as “Just because I murdered my spouse, I won’t murder my children”

        It could be completely true, but that doesn’t mean she should be trusted with molding the minds of children.

        • I think this conduct is disgusting as well, but your analogy falls apart. Her spouse, now an adult, has the right to file for custody — he hasn’t. Thus, his parental rights trump what you or I (or the State) think unless it can be shown that the children are in danger of being molested.

          On the flip side, If she had murdered her spouse, he wouldn’t exist. Her parental rights would have terminated upon entering prison. Once she got out, she could have petitioned for custody — but that doesn’t mean a court would grant it.

          Don’t get me wrong. This is awful and no one should be glamorizing this conduct — whether done by a man or a woman. My ONLY concern at this point are the children. I don’t know if they are being cared for well or not, but I do know that even crappy home environments where one parent is an ex-con is usually better than growing up in foster care.

          • Ok, not think about the situation reversed. Can you imagine a scenario where a 30 year old man wouldn’t have been incarcerated for having sex with his 13 year old female student? You say that in the case of incarceration, someone loses their parental rights. Fair enough. I’m saying the only reason she didn’t go to jail was her vagina.

            If this were a man, you would not be saying these things.

    • The fact that they are a happy family or appear to be will be used as the definitive rationalization for similar teacher-student rape scenarios: it all worked out for the best, the heart wants what the heart wants, and so forth. It is essentially “Hitler did some good things.” all over again. The story should not be suppressed, but it is no different from showing a happy family where the husband has terrorized his wife. The photo distorts the facts, it is deceit. This is still a tragedy; it is a nice modern city rising from the ashes of destruction in Hiroshima. There is literally nothing to be conflicted about. Good often is planted by evil. It’s not a mitigating factor.

      • What is your solution? She was released from prison. She has legal custody of her children. The state does not deem her a risk (apparently). Should the children be removed to foster care? THAT is the conflict. Yes, it is a lousy situation — but you aren’t offering a better alternative.

  8. I was going to point this story out, so I’m glad you saved me the trouble. I was shocked (I shouldn’t be) that Barbara Walters was in on the interview, and more than disgusted that a rapist and sexual predator and her victim (and husband) would be given any type of television interview.

    My first thought was, if it were a male teacher and 13-year-old female victim, even if they were later married, he would be greeted only with disgust and likely more than a few death threats. I would image he would be in hiding, and not flaunting his perversion on television.

    In a paragraph I read about the show it said Vili has struggled with alcoholism and other serious issues for years and mentioned his belief that the school failed to protect him (his mother sued the school).

    Letourneau is a sociopath and a narcissist and 20/20 is giving her a fantastic opportunity to let her crazy show. The woman was married and had four children when she began her affair with a 12-year-old (same age as my son), who was also her student. She continued breaking the law (and raping her victim) after being released, resulting in their two children. Obviously, Letourneau didn’t think about her teenage daughters when it was agreed to all go on national television and show the world what her two girls look like (and they are too immature to make that kind of decision).

    The whole situation reeks of a sick circus and though I don’t watch 20/20 or Barbara Walters, I still a bit stunned that this is being put on television.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.