On 'Freedom' in present-day America...

Tony Hollick (anduril@cix.compulink.co.uk)
Mon, 12 Jan 98 14:40 GMT0


The Seattle Times - Today's Top Stories

Local News

Copyright 1997 The Seattle Times Company

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1998

LeTourneau's freedom restricted

mailto:nbar-new@seatimes.com -- Nancy Bartley and Cheryl Harris

Seattle Times staff reporters

She's traded the red jail coveralls worn by felons for street clothes
and her former cell at the Regional Justice Center for a residence on
a street of trim older homes near Seward Park.

With her 180-day jail sentence over, Mary Kay LeTourneau is free,
but not without restrictions. She now begins a court-ordered,
three-year treatment program and must live with the label "sex

Yesterday, Seattle police assessed LeTourneau's "risk level,"
according to state guidelines, and placed the former Highline
School District elementary-school teacher at Level 2, which means
she is considered a moderate risk to reoffend.

Level 3 offenders are determined to be the most dangerous and
require police to hold community meetings to alert the public.
Level 1 offenders don't require any neighborhood notification.

Level 2 means police will distribute fliers with LeTourneau's
photo, crime information and her approximate address.

"This is a sensational neighborhood," said resident David Myre,
73, who wasn't worried about his new neighbor.

"I don't see any problem," Myre said of LeTourneau. "I hope she's
rehabilitated." But, he said, it's also important that she
especially be kept away from children for now.

But in a community with mom-and-pop stores and family
restaurants, where yellow school buses are as familiar sights as
the playgrounds that surround nearby neighborhoods, 38-year-old
Clay Borella understands why parents would worry about
LeTourneau's arrival.

"If I had kids, I would feel pretty strong about it one way or
the other," he said. ". . . I feel she made a pretty big

That mistake swayed police to place her as a Level 2 offender.

"What put her over the top (to a Level 2 status) was that she was
in a position of trust," said Detective Bob Shilling.

Last August, LeTourneau pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old
former student, whom she had known since he was in her second-grade
class. King County Superior Court Judge Linda Lau sentenced her to 180
days in jail and gave her a 7 1/2-year suspended sentence.

The sentence provisions included having no contact with the boy -
whose baby she gave birth to last May - and enrolling in
sex-offender treatment under the state Special Sex Offender
Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA) program.

"SSOSA is an excellent program," said Dr. Gordon Arthur, director
of the sex-offenders treatment program at Twin Rivers
Correctional Center. "It serves the public very well. . . . It
takes low-risk offenders and holds them responsible for their
behavior, while still ensuring they can still suport their families."

There are 130 sex-offender treatment providers listed under
SSOSA, and LeTourneau will begin therapy with a psychologist.

But, according to the provisions of the court order, LeTourneau's
therapy will be highly structured and every part of her life -
from her sex life to her work life, will be up for review by the

[NOTE: Mary Kay had to agree to be quizzed with a polygraph on
every sexual experience she'd ever had, to 'qualify' for SSOSA.
She also had to write a hundred-page essay on her childhood and
all her early experiences for the state-licenced 'private-sector'
treatment provider. -- TH].

Under Lau's guidelines, LeTourneau is required to:

-- Not date or have a relationship with anyone who has minor

-- Disclose her "sexual deviancy" to potential sex partners and
inform the psychologist of any plans for sexual activity.

-- Bring her significant other to the treatment program's
therapy sessions.

-- Not become pregnant again.

-- Have no contact with the victim, or unsupervised contact with
her own four children by her estranged husband. She may have contact
with her baby.

-- Bring in her "support system" to meet her therapist.

-- Maintain employment or volunteer work and inform the
supervisor of her sexual-deviancy status.

-- _Pay for the treatment herself_ and any related counseling.

She also is required to take medication [Valproic Acid, which
directly attacks the frontal-lobe neural cascades which mediate
religious experience] and undergo therapy for a bipolar disorder,
which is a chemical condition of the brain that subjects its
sufferers to wild mood swings and erratic behavior.

At the end of her three-year program, LeTourneau is to report
back to the court for a hearing. Then, for the rest of her life,
she'll have to report her address to police, Shilling said.

She's not alone. While female sex offenders are less common than
men, of the 1,065 registered sex offenders in Seattle, 17 are

Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge contributed to this report.