MODESTO, CA - A 41-year-old former Modesto teacher and an 18-year-old girl who he taught, talked about their controversial relationship Thursday.

James Hooker isliving with Jordan Powers after he left his wife and three children.

"I've certainly made a choice to walk in a different direction," Hooker said. "I knew there would be consequences to that.I don't think it was ever wrong, I knew what I was doing. I followed my heart."

His relationship with Powers became public after the girl's mother, Tammie Powers,expressed her outrage via Facebook.

"I think she was groomed for this. I think that he was in pursuit of this," Tammie Powers said.

RELATED STORY: Mom condemns Modesto teacher's affair with her daughter

Tammie Powersis convinced a crime took place since her daughter just recently turned 18; a Modesto police representative said the department was investigating the relationship.

"He's a master manipulator," Tammie Powers said."He thinks he's above the law."

But Hooker andJordan Powers insist their sexual relationship developed after she turned 18.

"Some people are congratulating us," Jordan Powers said. "Some are happy and some are against us. We just have a lot in common and I chose to follow my heart."

By Tim Daly,

Contributed by Natalie Sentz,

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