Thursday, May 19, 2005

Reader: 'How Can This Be?' Of Teacher Marrying Ex-Student She Raped

A guy I know who earned his college degree in the United States, now lives in Asia and goes by the handle "Montesquieu" is upset with the marriage of Mary Kay Letourneau to Vili Fualaau.

In an e-mail titled, "U.S. teacher marries boy she raped," the guy writes:

"How can this be? Is this not the worst case of double standards in the world? If a male teacher had sex with a 12-year-old girl, got her pregnant, and got sent to jail twice, he would:

"a. be sent to jail for half his life
"b. labeled a sex offender for life
"c. have all his neighbors -- wherever he lives for his entire life -- notified of his presence
"d. probably be killed in prison anyway

"Where are all the get-tough-on-crime people?
"Where is John Walsh (founder of America's Most Wanted) and other vigilante types?
"Where is the outrage from the family-values crowd?
"Where is Pat Robertson and the 700 Club?
"Where is the White House? Homosexuals cannot marry, but child rapists can marry their former victims?

"I have seen her interviewed on Larry King. I guess Oprah is next.


Unless you've been living on another planet, you know at least something about Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau.

In the ongoing saga, Letourneau, 43, married Fualaau, 22, in Woodinville, Wash., last Friday.

Letourneau was released from prison in August after serving 7 1/2 years for raping a child. Fualaau was either 12 or 13 -- and a student in Letourneau's class -- when the two began a sexual relationship.

She gave birth to their daughter shortly after her 1997 conviction. She served six months and was released on probation, but was ordered to serve her full sentence after she and Fualaau were found together in a van, in violation of a no-contact order.

She gave birth to their second daughter while in prison.

Letourneau told King on his CNN-TV show last year that their daughters regularly visited her in prison while living with Fualaau's mother. She said her relationship with her four children from her previous marriage was not as close.

Letourneau told King she did not know having a sexual relationship with Fualaau was a felony.

"It just -- I knew it just didn't -- just wasn't normal," she said. "It's not that I wouldn't have still had feelings, or that he wouldn't still have feelings, but ... I don't know how anyone does something knowing something's a felony."

During her October appearance on "Larry King Live" Letourneau said she planned to begin volunteering in a program to aid incarcerated women and said she may look for a paid job as a legal research assistant or a teacher at a community college.

She said Fualaau, who never finished high school, was not working.

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: I agree with Montesquieu about the outrage that would break out if an adult male teacher began having a sexual relationship with one of his female students--whether she was 12 or whether she was 13. The teacher would be sent to the nearest slammer, where he'd have his hands and a few other parts of his body chopped off by either the guards or other inmates. Hey, Montesquieu, nobody said Letourneau had any sense. My guess is that the extent of her knowledge never went beyond being able to know a lot about the back seats of a large number of cars. Now we'll see how long her latest marriage lasts. First of all, though, she's got to find a job so she can support her uneducated and unemployed husband].


Author, newspaper critic and e-mailer George Wine of Coralville sent me his latest messages to columnists at the local paper.

In an e-mail to John Carlson, Wine wrote:

"Hi, John --

"Your Wednesday column expressed indignation about Newsweek using faulty information to print a story that put our troops in Afghanistan in harms way.

"Perhaps you can understand why Americans like me are outraged at a Bush Administration that used faulty information for a war in Iraq that has needlessly taken the lives of thousands of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis, cost billions of dollars, and has no end in sight.

"I understand your position. I hope you can appreciate mine.

"George Wine"

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: Wine later sent me a copy of Carlson's reply to his first e-mail, then added these thoughts to Carlson in another e-mail:

"John -- Thanks for taking the time to respond to my e-mail. Two letter-writers in today's Register might be on to something. They suggest that supporters of the war in Iraq should encourage their kids, grandkids and friends of military age to enlist in the service. Seems like a reasonable idea.

"I was against going to Iraq without rock-solid justification, which we never had. But once we got there I felt we should finish the mission. Now I'm not so sure. There are some things in life we cannot understand, and militant Islam is one of them.

"Always enjoy your column. . . George"]

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: Carlson is a good guy who writes good, sensible stuff. Same with Wine, who somehow survived 19 straight non-winning football seasons when he was Iowa's sports information director. He's a good guy who has strong opinions and doesn't mind going public with them].


Wine also e-mailed columnist Dick Doak:

"Dick --

"I really liked your thoughtful, well-balanced piece on Iraq in Monday's Register. There doesn't seem to be any end in sight over there, and I'm one who didn't think we should go without rock-solid justification.

"George Wine, Coralville"


The No. 1 cause of lung cancer is smoking. But each year thousands of people -- who have never smoked or been exposed to other risk factors -- are diagnosed with the cancer.

That's a report from Tampa, Fla., by Ivanhoe Broadcast News.

Author and artist Tom Cross spends most days in a fantasy world. “There is magic all around us. We see it every day, and in our current society we forget about it, big time.”

But Cross believes in magic and needs it in his life. He had a backache that wouldn’t go away. Three months of tests revealed a surprising diagnosis -- stage 4 lung cancer. “Parents never smoked. I wasn’t around it, didn’t live with smokers,” Cross tells Ivanhoe.

Oncologist George Simon, M.D., says about 5 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked. He studied this group and found never-smokers live longer than smoking patients and have a different biological disease. “Though we tend to clump all lung cancers together there can be distinct disease entities with their own specific behavior patterns,” says Dr. Simon, from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

For example, the drug Iressa (gefitinib) was found not to improve survival in lung cancer patients, but it did in those who never smoked. It’s the treatment Cross is on, and so far, it’s working. He says, “You have the feeling you are riding the crest of a wave, and it’s like yeah, I gotta stay on it.”

To help speed up the research, Cross and several other patients teamed up with Dr. Simon to create an online database of patients who never smoked. Dr. Simon says, “It will help us do studies quicker and finish them quicker so that we can understand more about this disease faster.” Cross hopes that will help doctors treat others like him.

The website for the new patient database is In March, researchers also discovered a genetic mutation involved with never-smokers with lung cancer. They say that may explain the differences in treatment outcomes.

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: I have a very good friend who is interested in the story on lung cancer].

Vol. 4, No. 345
May 23, 2005