Crime

September 17, 2012

Judge OKs sex case prelim for accused ex-Modesto teacher

A judge Monday confirmed that the court will proceed as scheduled with an Oct. 2 preliminary hearing for a former Modesto teacher accused of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl in 1998.

A judge Monday confirmed that the court will proceed as scheduled with an Oct. 2 preliminary hearing for a former Modesto teacher accused of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl in 1998.

James Hooker, 42, has been accused of one count of committing oral copulation with a person younger than 18 stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a high school student 14 years ago.

The defendant met the girl at a Future Business Leaders of America conference, according to investigators. He was then a business teacher at Davis High School; she was a senior across town at Beyer High.

Hooker gained national notoriety in February when he left his wife and three daughters and quit his job to move into an apartment with Jordan Powers, his 18-year-old former student at Enochs High School.

The defendant, who remains free on bail, did not appear in court Monday morning for the pretrial hearing.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff has allowed Hooker to appear in court only when necessary.

The defendant will appear in next month's preliminary hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence in the criminal case to proceed to a trial.

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