Marka Lee Bodine is a former Texas middle school teacher facing a felony charge for continuous sexual abuse of a child. Police say the inappropriate relationship went on for as long as three years, according to KRIV-TV.
Tomball Police Chief confirmed with Heavy that an investigation was launched after a former Tomball Intermediate School student called the police on April 12. Bodine, 31, was arrested on April 17 and booked into the Harris County Jail. She posted bond and was released, according to court records on the Harris County District Clerk website.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Said There Was Physical Evidence of Grooming & That the Relationship Started When the Child Was 13
The Tomball Police Department explained in a news release that on April 12, the department received a call from a student who used to attend Tomball Intermediate School. The school educates 5th and 6th-grade students and is part of the Tomball Independent School District.
The student reported an “inappropriate sexual relationship with a teacher.” Chief of Police Jeff Bert further explained to KRIV-TV that the male student who called was the alleged victim.
Bert told the TV station that physical evidence, including social media posts and text messages, suggests the relationship went on for as long as three years. “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,” Bert said. “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 are no other children involved.”
Bodine made her first court appearance on April 19. According to KPRC-TV, Bodine had also gone to the police to report that a former student, whom she had taught in 6th grade, was “harassing” her. The outlet, citing court documents, reported that Bodine admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with the boy and that it started in 2018 when the student was 13.
2. Bodine Is Charged With a First-Degree Felony That Carries a Minimum Sentence of 25 Years In Prison if Convicted
Bodine was arrested on April 17. Court records show the bond was set at $100,000. She made bond on April 19 and was released from custody.
Records show Bodine was represented by a public defender. It was not immediately clear whether she planned to hire a different defense attorney.
Bodine is charged with “Continuous sexual abuse of a child,” which is an enhanced first-degree felony. This charge applies when the victim is younger than 14. According to the Texas penal code, the possible punishment if convicted is steep: “An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life, or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 25 years.”
3. Bodine Resigned From Her Teaching Job After the District Launched Its Own Investigation
The Tomball school district opened its own investigation after the police started looking into Bodine and the allegation of sexual abuse. According to a prepared statement shared with KPRC-TV, the school placed Bodine on administrative leave.
Bodine then resigned. The school statement did not specify how quickly Bodine quit after the investigation was started or if district officials asked her to resign. The statement specified that the child involved “does not currently attend Tomball ISD schools.”
The school district said Children’s Protective Services was also notified of the allegation. The statement went on:
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; we ask that the media and public respect the safety and privacy of the campus community.
4. Bodine Was a Certified English Language & Social Studies Teacher in Texas
Bodine majored in education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, according to her LinkedIn account. She graduated in 2012.
According to her profile on the Texas Education Agency website, Bodine has been a licensed teacher since August 2012. As of this writing, Bodine was licensed to teach English and social studies in grades four through eight.
Bodine’s name and contact information has been removed from the Tomball Intermediate School website. But according to her LinkedIn account, she started working in the district in 2015. A search of the school’s website on Wayback Machine shows that in 2017, Bodine was teaching 6th-grade social studies.
5. Bodine Wrote on a Blog Site That She Loves Helping Kids Navigate Through the ‘Dramas’ & ‘Traumas’ of 6th Grade
Bodine appears to have either deleted or increased the privacy settings on some of her social media accounts since the arrest, such as on Facebook and Instagram. A TikTok account with her name does not have any videos.
A search of online records brings up a WordPress website under Marka Bodine’s name called “Wordy and Nerdy.” In the bio, the author described herself as a “movie-loving, sushi-craving, music-listening, game-playing, puzzle-doing reader, and writer. I have many interests and hobbies, but am a master of none.”
The blog has only five entries that were all added in 2020. The first entry discussed her love of teaching. She wrote in part, “One interest that I am nurturing as much as I can is my love of helping people. I may not be a superstar reading teacher, but I love helping kids navigate their way through the dramas (or traumas?) of 6th grade. I love being there for family and friends when they need me.”