A former Tomball Independent School District teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student in 2021 was sentenced on Tuesday.
Marka Bodine pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 14. Harris County District Court Judge Greg Glass sentenced her to 60 days in jail, but not immediately because she recently gave birth. Court documents show she has until June 5, 2023, to report to jail.
In addition, Bodine will be on probation for 10 years and is required to register as a sex offender for life. The baby is not the child of her victim, authorities said.
Bodine and the Victim had a Sexual Relationship for 3 Years
According to court documents, the inappropriate relationship came to light last year after Bodine notified the school principal at Tomball Intermediate School that she was being harassed by a former student. Bodine told the principal that the 16-year-old boy was making threats to hurt himself and had gotten access to her private photographs and manipulated images of her.
Investigators said a search of both Bodine's phone and the boy's phone showed several messages and images that were exchanged between them. Some of the images were sexually explicit in nature.
When questioned, the boy told investigators that Bodine befriended him by playing an online video game and later began texting him, according to the affidavit. He said the two began exchanging explicit images and had sex shortly after he turned 13. Their relationship continued for the next three years.
The boy told authorities that Bodine moved into his apartment complex after her divorce and that the two had sex in her classroom and her car several times, according to the affidavit. Investigators said that Bodine eventually admitted to having a sexual relationship with the former student and sending explicit images and videos.
Prosecutors Asked for a 20-Year-Sentence for Bodine
"There are certain types of cases that, in my opinion, really should only warrant punishment, and that is this kind of case," said Harris County Prosecutor Janna Oswald, chief of the Crimes Against Children Division. "I'm heartbroken for the complainant and his family. I'm really disappointed in the outcome as a prosecutor â a child abuse prosecutor, and I'm disappointed as a citizen of Harris County."
Prosecutors asked the judge for a minimum sentence of 20 years, but the crime could have been punished by up to life in prison.
"The complainant is incredibly strong and he's gone through a lot. He got up on the stand in this punishment case and he told his truth, he told everything that happened to him and that takes so much bravery," Oswald said. "He was incredibly upset. He left the courtroom in the middle of the judge declaring a sentence because he was, he and his mother were very upset with the outcome."