MODESTO (CBS13) – A former Modesto high school teacher who made national news when he began dating one of his former students has been arrested for sexual abuse of a different student 14 years ago.
Detectives from the Modesto Police Department’s Special Victims Unit arrested James Christopher Hooker, 41, on Friday for one count of oral copulation.
Hooker appeared in court Friday afternoon. A judge set his bail at $50,000 and assigned him a public defender. Hooker requested that his bail amount be reduced, and the judge set a hearing next Tuesday to consider the matter. Hooker bailed out of jail shortly after midnight on Saturday morning.
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Detectives initially began to investigate Hooker after the mother of an Enochs High School student reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between her 18-year-old daughter Jordan Powers and Hooker, who taught business classes at the school before he resigned when their relationship came to light in February.
During the course of the investigation, detectives discovered a separate victim who was involved in a romantic relationship with Hooker when she was a 17-year-old high school student, police said.
This incident occurred in 1998 when Hooker was a teacher at Davis High School in Modesto. Hooker befriended the victim and developed a romantic relationship with the minor, police said. The statue of limitations doesn’t apply because of the nature of the allegation. According to the California Penal Code, a criminal complaint may be filed within one year of the allegation being reported to law enforcement.
Investigators obtained evidence that corroborates the victim’s allegations and detectives were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Hooker.
“Mr. Hooker was able to befriend this 17-year-old victim and continue the relationship and it did become a romantic relationship between the two, which led to the sexual assault,” Lt. Rick Armendariz said.
Detectives arrested Hooker, who left his wife and three daughters to be with Powers, at his Modesto apartment and booked him into the Stanislaus County Jail for one count of oral copulation with a minor.
News of Hooker’s arrest was welcomed by Tammie Powers, who has campaigned against Hooker’s relationship with her daughter and appeared on the same “Dr. Phil” show to voice her objection.
CBS13 Interview: Tammie Powers
“I’m elated,” Tammie Powers told CBS13’s Laura Cole. “This has been my contention all along, that James Hooker is a predator. He abused his position of authority and I contended that from day one.”
Tammie said she moved Jordan out Hooker’s apartment after his arrest.
“She’s no longer with James Hooker,” she said. “That did break up today when he got arrested. I think she’s in shell shock. I think it’s initial trauma. It just happened so quickly, so I think it’s going to take a long time for her to really put this in perspective and see the magnitude of it.”
CBS13 put in a request to talk to the now infamous former teacher, who bragged about his relationship with Jordan to anyone who would listen, but tonight, he wasn’t in a mood to talk.
“That doesn’t surprise me, he didn’t have anything to say to us today,” said Tammie.
But right now, Tammie isn’t focused on Hooker’s arrest. She’s worried about her daughter. And dedicated to helping Jordan move on with her life, get a college education, and date a man her own age.
“I don’t know if she is okay. I think she’s physically okay, but I don’t know otherwise; and I think we will have to address those as well,” said Tammie.
Modesto police say the investigation of Hooker’s relationship with Jordan Powers remains open.
“All along I have had a belief system that there have been more (victims), but again, I couldn’t prove it,” Tammie Powers said.
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Hooker and Powers went on national television, including “Dr. Phil” last month, to defend their relationship. During his interviews, Hooker has maintained he and Powers only became sexually involved after she turned 18.
He quit his teaching position in February after news of their relationship surfaced, she dropped out of Enochs and they moved in together.
Kristin Olsen, a state Assembly member from Modesto, has purposed legislation that would outlaw teacher-student sexual relationships in California, even if the student is 18. The law would strip teachers of their pension and retiree health benefits if convicted. Tammie Powers has been lobbying in support of the bill.
After Hooker’s arrest, Olsen posted on Twitter: “So pleased to hear of James Hooker’s arrest! He has shown a pattern of predatory behavior and must be stopped.”
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