Here's a shudder-inducer. 41-year-old Modesto, California school teacher James Hooker has unsurprisingly come under fire after leaving his wife and children and moving into an apartment with his 18-year-old student Jordan Powers. The couple have claimed that no sexual interaction occurred between the two until after Powers' 18th birthday, but the girl's mother, Tammie Powers, is seeking to prove otherwise, using a backlog of phone calls, emails and over 8,000 text messages as evidence of exchanges occurring while her daughter was still a minor.
To make an icky situation even more unsettling, Powers has stopped attending school since coming forward with her relationship with Hooker (Hooker has resigned from teaching, as well), though she is continuing her education through independent study. The fact that the relationship has isolated someone so young and easily influenced from both her family and her largest social network does not bode well for public opinion on the couple, especially not for Hooker who can easily be portrayed as a predator or, at the very least, skilled manipulator. And, of course, the "I didn't ever notice her until her exact 18th birthday" defense is always suspect. Hooker claims that, prior to Powers becoming a legal adult, "She was just a student. There was no attraction. There was nothing that was out of the ordinary, as opposed to any other student. We were very much a teacher-student role."
California has one of the broadest Statutes of Limitations and strictest statutory rape laws in the country, meaning if Tammie Powers' accusations are proven accurate and Hooker was indeed sexually involved with Jordan prior to her 18th birthday, he would be hard-pressed to escape jail time no matter how much time has passed since the transgression occurred.