(MODESTO, Calif.) — The 18-year-old California student whose controversial relationship with her high school teacher prompted a bill to ban such trysts is reportedly moving back in with her 41-year-old boyfriend.
Jordan Powers, 18, told a Sacramento TV reporter who knocked on the door at James Hooker’s apartment Tuesday that the couple was back together. Neighbors were “shocked” to see Powers back at the Modesto, Calif., apartment as early as last weekend, the Modesto Bee reported.
Powers ended the relationship earlier this month and moved home to Ohio when Hooker was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting another girl 14 years ago.
“He called me from jail and yes, I told him that we’re done,” Powers told ABC News in an interview the day after the arrest, explaining how she felt “betrayed.” “I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn’t agree with me.”
Police discovered that Hooker had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998, and charged him with one count of oral copulation with a minor. Hooker is out on bail but will return to court May 15, according to Modesto police.
Hooker had been under investigation for his relationship with Powers, but no charges have been filed against him in that case.
News that the couple had reunited came on the same day that legislation sparked by their relationship was rejected in the state Assembly. The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 1861, would have made it a felony for a public school teacher to date a student in the same school, regardless of age, even if the student is 18. The bill would also have criminalized sending sexual text messages and other forms of seductive communication to prevent teachers from pursuing students.
The couple has claimed that their relationship evolved over time and didn’t become romantic until Powers turned 18.
Hooker and Powers spoke publicly about their relationship in March, days after Hooker quit his job as a teacher at Enochs to move in with Powers. Hooker left his wife and children, including a 17-year-old daughter who attends Enoch High School, to date Powers.
Powers has stopped taking classes at the school but still plans to graduate this spring through independent study.
Detectives initially began to investigate Hooker after Powers’ mother reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between them, citing phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple, which began before her daughter turned 18.
The mother, Tammie Powers, has been an outspoken critic of the relationship, waging a Facebook campaign against Hooker and appearing on national TV to condemn his actions.
“He shouldn’t be with kids,” she said. “I’d like to see him arrested. I’d like to get information from when she was a minor and have him arrested.”
Hooker, however, has repeatedly said his relationship with Powers is legitimate.
“Love will overcome everything, ” Hooker told a therapist who spoke to ABC News. “I love my children. I love Jordan. I think that you’re making judgment calls. And I think that we’ll prove you wrong.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire