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Modesto teacher who left wife for student to register as sex offender

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A former Modesto teacher accused of molesting a 17-year-old student in 1998 must register as a sex offender, according to a plea deal reached this week, Fox40 reported Thursday.

James Hooker, who had to admit in court to molesting the victim, gained national attention early last spring when he left his wife and children to move in with 18-year-old Jordan Powers, another former student.

The agreement requires Hooker, who once taught at Enoch High School, to register as a sex offender. His sentence was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, Fox 40 reported.

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Hooker will be on probation for 48 months and might have to serve a 180-day jail sentence if the probation terms are violated.

The incident is separate from his relationship with Powers, who claims their sexual relationship did not start until the day she turned 18.

Hooker resigned from his teaching post in February 2012 when he went to live with Powers, whom he met when she was a freshman.

Powers’ mother, Tammie, became determined to prove Hooker had committed a crime.

She appeared on “Nancy Grace” in March 2012, saying, “I’m going to get him. He’s messed with the wrong mother.”

Meanwhile, Hooker and Powers defended their relationship on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and other national media outlets.

On April 6 last year, Hooker was arrested on one count of oral copulation with a minor. The encounter with the 17-year-old student occurred in 1998, when Hooker taught at Davis High School in Modesto.

Hooker remained free on a $50,000 bail.

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Twitter: @emfoxhall

emily.foxhall@latimes.com


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