A 41-yr-old teacher from Modesto California, left his wife and children, and resigned from his 15 year job as a teacher to be with a teen student he met when she was only 14.
Police have launched an investigation into when the intimate relationship of the couple who now share an apartment, first began.
The 18-year-old girl Jordan Powers was one of James Hooker, a computer teacher's students at James Enochs High School, when they first met.
"In making our choice, we've hurt a lot of people," Hooker told The Modesto Bee. "We keep asking ourselves, 'Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?'"
Hooker who is now on paid administrative leave from his job, maintains the relationship began when she was 18. Her mother, however, says their relationship began prior to this and she does not believe the two weren't intimate before then.
"She looked up to him," mother Tammie Powers told ABC News. "[He was in the] position of an educator, [and you] don't abuse your student. Period. She's still in high school. She still lives at home. She has a curfew…. That's not OK."
Her fellow students at Enochs High School told KOVR they too believe an intimate relationship began much sooner than they claim.
"She was 14 when they first got together," one student said. "That's pretty disgusting, a guy like an old man would try and go with a really young girl."
Powers says their feelings for each other grew spending time together out of school hours, through text messages, and through phone calls.
"[He's] my best friend," Powers told ABC News. "I mean, he's more than just a lover."
Hooker says he is confident he will be cleared of the claims against him. "There's no evidence of that. There's no proof of that. It didn't exist," Hooker said. "I've been portrayed as a monster through all of this. I'm not a monster. I'm not any different than I've always been," he said.