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Sunday, April 8, 2012

'I told him we're done': Schoolgirl, 18, leaves teacher, 41, who abandoned his wife and children to move in with her over claims he 'sexually abused a student 10 years ago'

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:23 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Arrest: Former teacher James Hooker, 41, has been arrested for
 'sexually abusing a student' in 1998

The teenage girlfriend of a former teacher who abandoned his family to move in with her has ended their controversial relationship amid claims he sexually abused a different student more than a decade ago.

Christopher James Hooker, 41, was arrested for oral copulation with a minor he taught at a California school in the 1990s, years before he struck his relationship with 18-year-old Jordan Powers.

Police said the case stems from a 1998 relationship he had with a 17-year-old student from Davis High School in Modesto.

Hooker was arrested at his home on Friday and booked into Stanislaus County Jail.

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Powers told ABC's Good Morning America today that she has moved out of Hooker's apartment. 

'He called me from jail and I told him we're done,' she said. 

The teen said that she believed the claims and that she felt the victim had come forward at this time to help her see the truth about her boyfriend.

'I lost everything for this guy, I lost my senior year and I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn't agree with it.'

Police said he made friends with the girl and later developed a romantic relationship with her.

The investigation into the incident began after Hooker announced his relationship in February with Powers, whom he taught at Enochs High School in Modesto.

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Together: Hooker moved in with Jordan Powers, 18, in May after
leaving his wife and three daughters

Troubling: The arrest relates to the alleged sexual abuse of a different
student at a separate school in 1998

Intimate: The couple share a kiss as they are interviewed by
ABC and insist their love is real and for life
'He didn't deny it, my heart dropped, I feel betrayed. I have a gut feeling that there's other girls,' an emotional Powers told ABC.

'How can he look me in the eye and tell me he loves me. I don't understand how someone can have such a cold heart.' 

Hooker had moved in with the teen in February - the same day he quit his job in the school's business department. The teacher told police he had left his wife and their three daughters the previous week.

Powers' mother, Tammie, had confronted the couple on Dr. Phil and accused Hooker of brainwashing her daughter.

Of his arrest, she told Good Morning America: 'I've always had the same contention that he's a pervert and this predatory behavior didn't start over night.'

Together, Hooker and Powers appeared on numerous national talk shows and news interviews to maintain they did not have sexual contact until she turned 18 and their relationship was 'real love'.

Yet police are investigating whether there was inappropriate contact before Powers became 18.

In interviews for the Dr. Phil show and ABC's Good Morning America, the couple can be seen holding hands and exchanging smiles.

The couple said that, while they met when Jordan was 14, their relationship did not become physical until she was of age, making it permissible under current laws. California's age of consent is 18.

On Friday, Tammie Mullins Powers wrote on her Facebook page: 'Yes, confirmed James Hooker is in custudy. I am with my daughter as I post this.'

The Modesto Bee reported that she met with her daughter shortly after noon and packed her daughter's things at Hooker's apartment.

She later told a reporter from the newspaper that she was catching a flight to an undisclosed location with her daughter on Friday.

Friends flocked to the devastated mother's Facebook page to criticise Hooker and offer her support.

Furious: Tammie Powers has reunited with her daughter Jordan
and flown to an undisclosed location

In response to the couple's relationship, a state lawmaker from Modesto last week proposed legislation that would ban student-teacher relationships regardless of age, even if the student is 18.

The law would also strip school employees of their pensions and retiree health care if they are convicted.

Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen said her bill would prevent teachers from grooming students for relationships once they became adults.

The bill would also forbid suggestive communication such as sexual text messages. Hundreds of text messages were reportedly exchanged between Powers and Hooker before they moved in together.

It was a bill supported by Jordan's mother Tammie, who had blasted the former teacher as manipulative during an appearance on Dr Phil.

'I had no legal recourse whatsoever with an 18-year-old, and I believe that the teacher pursued her,' said Tammie Powers at a news conference along with Olsen to announce the bill last month.

'So this will be a preventative measure. I plan on making this a national campaign in each and every state. I would like to see a national registry as a reference place for employers.

'More or less it's kind of my way to channel this anger, frustration into something productive protecting students, protecting kids.'

After hearing of the arrest, Olsen wrote on her Twitter account: 'So pleased to hear of James Hooker's arrest! He has shown a pattern of predatory behavior and must be stopped.'

Hooker appeared in court where a judge set his bail at $50,000 and assigned him a public defender, according to the Modesto Bee.

Hooker requested that his bail amount be reduced, and the judge set a hearing next Tuesday to consider the matter.

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