The Best Defense Against Sex Abuse is Teaching Children to Say "No!"

May 22, 2002

by Mary Mostert, Analyst - Banner of Liberty

Mary K. Letourneau a former public school teacher, is serving a prison term for “rape” of a 12 year old student, Vili Fualaau, who fathered two of her children in his early teen years.

Following the lead of plaintiffs who say they were abused by Catholic Priests during their youth, Faulaau and his mother, Soona Vili, sued the School District for “$2.4 million, including about $500,000 for Soona Vili’s suffering.” [1]

According to the Seattle Post Intelligence on Monday, “Vili and Fualaau argued that the police were negligent in not sufficiently investigating an incident in which Fualaau and Letourneau, were discovered in a van at the Des Moines Marina early on June 19, 1996."

Faulaau was twelve years old at the time, but Letourneau told the police who stopped to investigate that he was 18. That made the police suspicious that something sexual was going on [2]and they took the pair to the police station where both Fualaau and Letourneau denied there had been any "touching." Instead, they said, Letourneau had been babysitting the boy and took him from her home after she and her husband had a fight.

So, the officers called Faulaau’s mother who told them “to let the boy go home with his teacher. With no evidence of sex abuse, they complied.”

In testifying about the episode, Faulaau said, “I loved her. At least I thought I loved her. I thought we were lucky that she didn’t go to jail" when they were discovered in the van.

This shows that from his own court testimony, Faulaau admitted knowing what he was doing was wrong. He lied to cover up the truth. Yet, his lawyer, Cyrus Vance, Jr. claims Faulaau and Vili brought the case for "one simple reason only: so that the institutions that are designed to protect our children, when they have indications of sex abuse, they respond to those indications."

So, if they were only interested in protecting children, what’s the $2.4 million for?
Also on Monday, the Boston Globe reported: “Four men who were allegedly molested by a Roman Catholic priest as boys sued him, the Los Angeles Archdiocese, and Cardinal Roger Mahony yesterday under federal racketeering laws, claiming that the church acted as a criminal enterprise in covering up the abuse.”

According to the lawsuit, the men are miffed because “the Los Angeles Archdiocese paid two of the boys a $1.3 million settlement [3] that required them to remain ’’absolutely silent’’ about the abuse.

With this kind of money floating around to “compensate” adults who claim they were abused as children, obviously there will be a whole lot more people coming forward in hope of getting some of the money. How can frivolous charges that merely seek money or ways to destroy an organization or church be separated, years after the alleged incident, from real incidents of abuse?

And, if it is right and moral to collect millions of dollars from the Catholic Church, which has never advocated child sex abuse as a policy, why is it not right and moral to collect millions of dollars from the local police and the local public school for real, or alleged, cases of sexual abuse?

In other words, why the double standard? Is there a bit of anti-Catholic sentiment involved here? And, who, ultimately, is really responsible for protecting children from predators - in and out of their homes?

Who has ever reached the age of adulthood without having been improperly propositioned for sex by someone - a stranger, a friend, a teacher, a relative, an employer? In my youth, the advice to the young was not to file a lawsuit when propositioned. We were advised to run - to get away as fast as we could. And that’s exactly what I, and other friends, did on occasion. We ran to the nearest exit. We also learned not to walk alone in dark alleys and not to send provocative, sex signals via our behavior and our clothes, habits that are seemingly out of style in this modern era.

Could Faulaau have just said no? Could those men, who claim they were propositioned by priests when they were boys, have just said no, or made sure they were not alone with that priest? How many grown men have been propositioned by a homosexual at school, on the street, at work, in a club, even in Church? No one knows, of course, because generally they tell the guy to get lost and almost never tell their Mom or Dad about the incident.

Unfortunately, today 20% of the youth who are taking illegal drugs are introduced to them by parents. I suspect an even high percentage of the youth are learning illicit sex habits at home too, so the home is not always a safe place for children.

However, in the end, it appears to me as the mother of six and the grandmother of 26, that a home that teaches children how to say “NO!” and teaches children that not all adults should be obeyed is till the best way to deal with the problems just about all will face at some time in their lives.

Back in the 1930s, when the world was not nearly as evil or complex as it is today, my mother told us kids that we did not need to “obey” all adults - since that would give criminals and evil people control over us.

That was good advice then, and it’s good advice now for kids and is a whole lot cheaper and less traumatic than calling a lawyer.


1. Seattle Insider - May 21, 2002 - Jury Reaches Verdict in Teacher Sex Lawsuit
2. Seattle Post Intelligencer - Schools, police absolved in Fualaau case - They’re not to blame for teacher’s rape of boy, jury says
3. Boston Globe


Mary Mostert was writing professionally on political issues as a teen-ager in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s. In the 1960s, she wrote a weekly column for the Rochester Times Union, a Gannett paper and was one of 52 American women who attended the 17 Nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland to ban testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. She was a licensed building contractor for 29 years, as she raised her six children. She served an 18 month mission as Public Affairs Director for the Africa Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990-91. In the 1990s she wrote a book, Coming Home, Families Can Stop the Unraveling of America, edited the Reagan Monthly Monitor and talk show host Michael Reagan’s Information Interchange for seven years. She now operates the website, Banner of Liberty.

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