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Tomball ISD teacher, 31, gets only 60 days jail after sex with 13yr old victim

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Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced
Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced to only 60 days jail after ongoing sexual abuse of 13 year old student victim.
Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced
Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced to only 60 days jail after ongoing sexual abuse of 13 year old student victim.

Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced to only 60 days jail after ongoing sex abuse of 13 year old male victim she met at school. Community left aghast. 

Texas teacher convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old student over the course of three years will not have to commence her jail term until next year — after giving birth to a newborn. 

Marka Lee Bodine, 31, a former English teacher with the Tomball Independent School District was sentenced Tuesday 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 incarceration. The light jail term has since left the boy’s family dumbfounded and community groups calling for the resignation of the sentencing judge. 

The victim, who is now 16, said Bodine befriended him by playing 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 abusive sexual relationship continued for over two years, with Bodine driving to her student’s home two to four times a month until March 2021, with matters only coming to an end after the victim called police ‘begging for help.’

Inexplicable sentencing 

The baby is not the result of Bodine’s years-long relationship with the student. It wasn’t immediately clear who the newborn’s father was. 

The Tomball Intermediate School teacher will be required to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Bodine’s charge, continued sexual abuse of a child under 14, had carried a maximum life sentence.

Prosecutors had asked for a minimum 20 years behind bars, with the boy’s family demanding 40 years, only to be left dumbfounded when the female educator was required to only serve just 60 days jail. 

Christopher Downey, a criminal defense attorney, told abc13 that that a possible contributing factor to Bodine’s light sentence could be evidence of her mental state at the time of the abuse.

‘I think no small part of an explanation for this sentence may lie in any psych info they provided to the court,’ Downey said, but noted that social factors likely had a hand in Bodine’s fate.

‘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,’ Downey said.

Appropriate punishment? 

The abused boy left the courtroom midway through sentencing as he was ‘very upset with the outcome,’ attorney Janna Oswald said.

Explained Oswald via NBC Houston: ‘I’m heartbroken for the complainant and his family.

‘I’m really disappointed in the outcome as a prosecutor, a child abuse prosecutor, and I’m disappointed as a citizen of Harris County.’ 

Bodine’s defense attorney said: ‘No case is like another and not every case deserves prison.

‘We believe the Judge followed the law and handed down an appropriate punishment’, attorney Dustan Neyland wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.

The investigation into Bodine was launched in April after the ex-student came forward with allegations of continued and ongoing sexual misconduct. 

Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced
Marka Bodine Tomball ISD teacher sentenced to only 60 days jail. Pictured Texas educator.

Teacher groomed victim for sex

‘It was definitely a cry out for help,’ Tomball Police Chief Jeff Bert said. 

‘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.’

According to a filed affidavit, Bodine moved into the victim’s apartment complex after her divorce – and that the two had sex in her classroom and her car on numerous occasions. 

Tomball parent Jennifer Kratky, whose daughter was taught English by Bodine at the time of her arrest, told NBC: ‘It’s really hard to wrap our minds around why someone would do such a thing, but evil exists in the world.

‘It’s even now more upsetting to find out that she was given this ridiculously light sentence.’

Court documents suggested Bodine had gone to the police, claiming that her former sixth grade student was harassing her and threatening to harm himself.

Bodine later admitted to having a three-year sexual relationship with that same boy, beginning in 2018 when he was just 13 years old, and sending him dozens of explicit videos and photos.

Chief Bert said the investigation uncovered evidence in the form of social media posts and text messages, with the official saying that Bodine had likely sought to grooming the victim for sex.

The Tomball Independent School District released a statement to ABC13, stressing that the case involved a former student ‘who does not currently attend Tomball ISD schools.’

According to district officials, as soon as they learned of the allegations against Bodine, she was placed on administrative leave and has since resigned.

Bodine’s LinkedIn profile indicates that Bodine had taught English at Tomball ISD for nearly six years.

Not immediately clear is why the female educator abused her position of trust, authority and power to subjugate her male victim and what sentence the courts would have imposed had the genders been reversed.

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