Ex-Teacher Marries Former Student

Monday, February 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) — An ex-schoolteacher who spent nearly four years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old student has married his former pupil.

Mark Blilie, 46, met Toni Pala, 20, when she was 13, and began a sexual relationship with her when she was 15. He married her earlier this month, six months after his release from prison, The Seattle Times reported Monday.

``It's certainly not illegal,'' said Scott O'Toole, who once prosecuted Blilie. ``He's paid his debt to society.''

After Blilie's conviction in 1996, he was barred from any contact with Pala while he was in prison. After his release in 1999, the two resumed their relationship despite a judge's order that Blilie avoid contact with her. When their relationship was discovered, Blilie was sent back to prison for five months.

After his release last July, a judge lifted the order and the two re-established contact.

``I was in solitary for 93 days. I never stopped thinking about Toni,'' Blilie said. ``I just felt that in some way, shape or form, it wasn't over.''

His wife told the newspaper she never felt manipulated by Blilie.

``I never felt like a victim,'' she said. ``I never felt that Mark was grooming me or preparing me.''

Her parents, who live in Kirkland, declined to comment except to say they love their daughter.