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Politics

California Lawmakers Reject Bill To Punish Student-Teacher Dating

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Booking photo of former teacher James Hooker. (Modesto Police)

Booking photo of former teacher James Hooker. (Modesto Police)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — California lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have made it a felony for teachers to date their students, even if they are over 18.

The Assembly Committee on Public Safety voted 3-0 against AB1861 on Tuesday.

The bill’s author, Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto, said committee members stood with predators by rejecting the legislation. She promised to keep pushing for similar legislation.

The bill was inspired by the headline-grabbing case of 41-year-old Modesto teacher Christopher James Hooker, who left his wife and three children to move in with his 18 year-old student. The pair split after Hooker was accused of sexually abusing another student.

It would have made such relationships a felony and stripped offending teachers of their pensions and retiree health care benefits.

The California Federation of Teachers and American Civil Liberties Union opposed it.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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