Over the course of three years, the teacher engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, beginning after the student turned 13, according to documents.
On Wednesday, 32-year-old Marka Lee Bodine, a former English teacher with the Tomball Independent School District was sentenced to 60 days in prison followed by ten years probation.
The female educator will not have to report to jail in Harris County, east Texas until June 2023 because she recently had a child.
During sentencing, prosecutors and the victim’s family had demanded up to 40 years of incarceration. The light jail term has since left the boy’s family dumbfounded and community groups calling for the resignation of the sentencing judge.
Criminal defense attorney Christopher Downey told ABC that Bodine’s gender likely played a role in her light sentence:
“I think no small part of an explanation for this sentence may lie in any psych info they provided to the court. By all accounts, this is an unusual outcome. I am sure that the gender of the person on trial, the fact that this was a woman accused of having sex with a young boy, that’s gonna factor into it as well,” he told the outlet.
The victim, who is now 16, said Bodine befriended him by playing the online video game Fortnite, Abc13 reported. The English teacher, who was married at the time, began texting him, sending 25 to 40 explicit photographs of herself to the teen between April 2020 to February 2021.
The victim testified that he and Bodine spoke for hours about his family life and his parents’ divorce.
“I never had a person I could talk to about my feelings,” the victim said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I was starting to love her in a way.”
More from The Daily Wire’s report:
Bodine began sexually assaulting the boy shortly after his 13th birthday, ABC reported.
Bodine even moved into the apartment complex where the victim lived after she divorced her husband. The victim’s family later moved to the south side of Houston in July 2018, but Bodine would drive to his new home two to four times a month for the next three years, ending in March 2021. Between April 2020 and February 2021, Bodine also sent the boy explicit photographs of herself.
The abuse ended shortly before the victim turned 16. The teenager told the court that after Bodine stopped seeing him, he struggled since he had always been able to talk to her about his family life. Soon, however, he realized that their relationship was inappropriate and that he was the victim of abuse.
“It ruined me,” he said in court, according to the Chronicle.
The abuse was revealed after Bodine told school officials that she was being harassed by a former student, who was “making threats to report their relationship,” court records said. She claimed the victim had gotten hold of “private photographs and manipulated images of her.”
School officials then learned the student had alleged abuse and had reported Bodine to police. When Bodine learned he had gone to the police, she demanded that he delete the pictures of her on his phone.
“She told me I wouldn’t go to college, that I would go to jail,” the victim testified in court. “She said she would kill herself, go to jail.”
The victim also testified that he considered suicide and spent a week at a mental health clinic.
As part of her probation, Bodine will have to attend sex offender treatment. If she successfully completes deferred adjudication, her conviction will be removed from her record.
Investigators said that Bodine eventually admitted to having a sexual relationship with the former student and sending explicit images and videos.
Bodine was arrested and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. She was released from jail after posting a $100,000 bond and ordered to stay away from her victim.