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A Texas teacher is accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a underage former student for nearly three years at middle school near Houston, police said.
Marka Bodine, 31, has been charged with continuous sex abuse of a child under the age of 14, court records show. The alleged abuse occurred while Bodine was a teacher at Tomball Intermediate School, which caters to fifth and sixth grade students.
The victim, now 16, reported Bodine to the Tomball Police Department on April 12.
"It was definitely a cry out for help,” Tomball Police Chief Jeff Bert said, according to KRIV. “He had reached out to a school, and he reached out to the police department as well, so I think he just became overwhelmed with it and reached out to us."
Bodine ultimately confessed to having the sexual relationship with the minor student, court documents show, according to KRIV. The illicit relationship, which began in 2018, spanned a number of years, according to police.
"Most of the investigation indicates it's been about two and a half to three years,” Bert added. “Both social media, text, and other forms of evidence. And it does appear that this is one of those cases where grooming of the child was involved, in other words, getting the person to be feel trusted initially. Our big concern from the police department right now is to ensure that we have all the evidence of this case, but to ensure that there's no other children involved.”
Bodine taught English at Tomball Intermediate School since 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. The Texas middle school teacher, who was placed on administrative leave after being charged, has since resigned, school district officials confirmed.
“[Bodine] is no longer employed with Tomball ISD,” Allison Suarez, a spokesperson for Tomball Independent School District, told Oxygen.com in a statement on Tuesday.
The school says it’s now cooperating with local police.
“Once notified of the allegation, the district immediately began an administrative investigation,” the statement added. “Any and all employee misconduct allegations are taken seriously and are investigated thoroughly and promptly. The safety of our students in Tomball ISD is our number one priority and any substantiated allegations of employee misconduct will not be tolerated. The district will be providing the appropriate social-emotional support to students and staff.”
Parents' whose children attend the school were disturbed, angered, and horrified.
“It’s terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” Vincent Coulter told KPRC. “It’s despicable. [It’s the] worst crime ever because the parents of whoever this is involved in, they put their trust into that woman and now look where they’re at.”
“I just got the email this morning and honestly that kind of stuff outrages me,” another mother told the station.
Tomball is located about 30 miles northwest of Houston.
Bodine was booked into a Harris County jail on April 17, but has since posted bond and was released pending trial. The 31-year-old appeared in court on Monday. She hasn’t yet entered a plea. The former educator’s arraignment is scheduled for June 29, according to court records.
Bodine’s defense attorney, Dustan Neyland, didn’t immediately respond when asked to comment on the case on Tuesday.
Anyone with information related to this case is urged to contact Det. David White at the Tomball Police Department at 281-351-5451.
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