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Entries in James Hooker (4)

Wednesday
May162012

Controversial Teacher and Student Appear in Court Together

ABC News(MODESTO, Calif.) -- The California high school teacher and student who left their families to date one another have appeared side-by-side in court for a hearing on sex abuse charges filed against the teacher.

James Hooker, 41, and his girlfriend Jordan Powers, 18, were photographed holding hands as they entered and left the Modesto, Calif., courtroom Tuesday where a hearing was held for Hooker on charges that he sexually assaulted another student 14 years ago.

The couple had reportedly separated after Hooker was arrested April 6 after police discovered he had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998.

"He called me from jail and yes, I told him that we're done," Powers told ABC News in an exclusive interview the day after his arrest. "I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn't agree with me."

Just a few weeks later, however, on April 17 Powers told a Sacramento TV reporter who knocked on the door at Hooker's apartment that the couple was back together.

Hooker is also under investigation for his involvement with Powers, his former business class student.

It was Powers' mother, Tammie Powers, who reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between them, citing phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple, which began before her daughter turned 18.

The couple drew national attention after appearing on national TV programs earlier in March to profess their love, days after Hooker quit his job as a teacher at Enochs High School in order to move into an apartment with Powers the same day. Hooker left his wife and children, including a 17-year-old daughter who also attends Enoch High School, in order to date Powers.

The couple has said that their relationship evolved over time and did not become romantic until Powers turned 18.

In court on Tuesday to face the 1998 charges, Hooker, switched his representation from a public defender to a private attorney, Mary Lynn Belsher, which will lead to a delay in the case, according to local ABC affiliate, News 10.

The judge agreed to Belsher's request that the trial be moved back to allow her time to prepare the case. Hooker, who remains free on bail, will next appear in court on June 5.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Controversial Student, Teacher Reportedly Back Together

ABC News(MODESTO, Calif.) -- The 18-year-old California student whose controversial relationship with her high school teacher prompted a bill to ban such trysts is reportedly moving back in with her 41-year-old boyfriend.

Jordan Powers, 18, told a Sacramento TV reporter who knocked on the door at James Hooker's apartment Tuesday that the couple was back together. Neighbors were "shocked" to see Powers back at the Modesto, Calif., apartment as early as last weekend, the Modesto Bee reported.

Powers ended the relationship earlier this month and moved home to Ohio when Hooker was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting another girl 14 years ago.

"He called me from jail and yes, I told him that we're done," Powers told ABC News in an interview the day after the arrest, explaining how she felt "betrayed." "I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn't agree with me."

Police discovered that Hooker had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998, and charged him with one count of oral copulation with a minor. Hooker is out on bail but will return to court May 15, according to Modesto police.

Hooker had been under investigation for his relationship with Powers, but no charges have been filed against him in that case.

News that the couple had reunited came on the same day that legislation sparked by their relationship was rejected in the state Assembly.  The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 1861, would have made it a felony for a public school teacher to date a student in the same school, regardless of age, even if the student is 18. The bill would also have criminalized sending sexual text messages and other forms of seductive communication to prevent teachers from pursuing students.

The couple has claimed that their relationship evolved over time and didn't become romantic until Powers turned 18.

Hooker and Powers spoke publicly about their relationship in March, days after Hooker quit his job as a teacher at Enochs to move in with Powers. Hooker left his wife and children, including a 17-year-old daughter who attends Enoch High School, to date Powers.

Powers has stopped taking classes at the school but still plans to graduate this spring through independent study.

Detectives initially began to investigate Hooker after Powers' mother reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between them, citing phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple, which began before her daughter turned 18.

The mother, Tammie Powers, has been an outspoken critic of the relationship, waging a Facebook campaign against Hooker and appearing on national TV to condemn his actions.

"He shouldn't be with kids," she said. "I'd like to see him arrested. I'd like to get information from when she was a minor and have him arrested."

Hooker, however, has repeatedly said his relationship with Powers is legitimate.

"Love will overcome everything, " Hooker told a therapist who spoke to ABC News. "I love my children. I love Jordan. I think that you're making judgment calls. And I think that we'll prove you wrong."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr072012

California Student in Relationship With Teacher Moves Out After Sexual Assault Arrest

ABC News(MODESTO, Calif.) -- A California student who left school, her family and her friends to live with her teacher boyfriend has ended the relationship after the teacher was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting another girl 14 years ago.

"He called me from jail and yes, I told him that we're done," Jordan Powers, 18, told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn't agree with me."

James Hooker, 41, was arrested in Modesto, Calif., on Friday after police discovered he had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998.

Hooker has been under investigation for his involvement with Powers, his former business class student, with whom he appeared on national TV programs earlier this year to profess his love.

Hooker was charged with one count of oral copulation with a minor and is in jail, according to a statement from Modesto police.

"He told me that he met her online and he hung out with her just as friends and then he went to her house and she came out of the bathroom naked and he only touched her boobs and her legs," Powers said. "He was freaked out so he left and went home. He said nothing else happened, but all of that was a lie."

Despite the charges, Powers said nothing happened romantically between her and Hooker prior to her 18th birthday.

The teen said she believed the woman came forward now to help her see the truth about Hooker and rescue her from the relationship.

"My heart dropped. I felt betrayed. I just have a gut feeling there are other girls," Jordan Powers said.

Her mother, Tammie Powers, has publicly tried to end the romance from the beginning and expressed relief at Hooker's arrest.

"It's my contention all along that he used authority and that he's a predator," she said.

But a reconciliation between mother and daughter isn't happening just yet.

Jordan Powers said she is staying with a family friend in another state while she recovers from her heartbreak.

"How could he lie to me for all these months and look me in the eye and tell me he loves me?" she said. "I don't know how someone could have such a cold heart."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr062012

Calif. Teacher in Relationship with Student Arrested for Sexual Assault

ABC News(MODESTO, Calif.) -- A high school teacher who left his family to date a former student was arrested Friday on charges of sexually assaulting a different student years ago.

James Hooker, 41, was arrested in Modesto, Calif., after police discovered he had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998. Hooker has been under investigation for his involvement with 18-year-old Jordan Powers, his former business class student, with whom he appeared on national TV programs last month to profess his love.

Hooker was charged with one count of oral copulation with a minor and is in jail, according to a statement from Modesto police. Hooker allegedly befriended the victim while teaching at Enochs High School, and developed a romantic relationship with the student. Hooker then allegedly sexually assaulted the then-17-year-old girl.

Hooker and Powers spoke publicly about their relationship in March, days after Hooker quit his job as a teacher at Enochs in order to move into an apartment with Powers the same day. Hooker left his wife and children, including a 17-year-old daughter who attends Enoch High School, in order to date Powers.

"[He's] my best friend. I mean, he's more than just a lover," Powers has said of Hooker.

The couple has said that their relationship evolved over time and did not become romantic until Powers turned 18.

Powers has stopped taking classes at the school, but still plans to graduate this spring through independent study.

Detectives initially began to investigate Hooker after Powers' mother reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between them, citing phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple, which began before her daughter turned 18.

Tammie Powers has been an outspoken critic of the relationship, waging a Facebook campaign against Hooker and appearing on national TV to condemn his actions.

"He shouldn't be with kids," she said. "I'd like to see him arrested. I'd like to get information from when she was a minor and have him arrested."

Hooker, however, has repeatedly said his relationship with Powers is legitimate.

"Love will overcome everything, " Hooker told a therapist, who spoke to ABC News. "I love my children. I love Jordan. I think that you're making judgment calls. And I think that we'll prove you wrong."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio