HUDSON, Texas (KTRE) - Officers with the Hudson ISD Police Department arrested a former math teacher for the school district on Monday in connection to allegations that he had an improper relationship with a high school student that included sexual contact.
James Dillon English, 28, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a second-degree felony improper relationship between an educator and student charge and a second-degree felony indecency with a child charge.
English was booked into the jail on Monday, and he was released two days later after he posted bail on a collective bond amount of $60,000.
“Hudson ISD was alerted of a possible inappropriate relationship between a high school teacher and a high school student,” said Donnie Webb, Hudson ISD’s superintendent. “A thorough investigation pursued following the teacher's failure to follow district policy regarding social media and contact with students. District staff must disclose any electronic communication with individual students that are not family members.”
Webb said in an e-mailed statement that English was a second-year high school math teacher.
According to one of the arrest affidavits, the alleged improper relationship occurred during the months of November and December in 2019.
The affidavit stated that a Hudson ISD Police Department officer was contacted by an Angelina County Sheriff’s Office investigator, who expressed concern about a female Hudson ISD student. The concern stemmed from a forensic interview done at Harold’s House, and the name of a Hudson ISD teacher who is also a youth pastor was brought up during the interview, the affidavit stated.
The ACSO investigator said that the CAC interviewer and the girl’s family were concerned that the juvenile victim was in some kind of improper relationship with English. The girl identified English as the teacher and said that he is also the youth pastor for Trinity Baptist Church, the affidavit stated.
Hudson ISD PD officer Kristen Henley opened an investigation based on the information provided. On Jan. 10, Henley reviewed the recording of the girl’s forensic interview at Harold’s House and talked to the victim’s mother, aunt, and grandmother, the affidavit stated.
Later, the victim’s mother gave Henley consent to search the girl’s phone. The Hudson ISD PD officer got the phone on Jan. 17.
“Officer Henley located significant evidence supporting the concern of inappropriate communications since the Thanksgiving holidays until January 1, 2020, when her mother took her phone from her,” the affidavit stated. “The two have been communicating by text message, Facebook messaging, Instagram messaging, SnapChat, video chats (on cell phones and on cellular applications), and inside online cellular games.”
According to the affidavit, the communications between English and the victim occurred in many different forms and at all hours of the day and night.
Then on Feb. 6, Henley received a message from a Hudson ISD employee that said the victim wanted to speak with Henley.
The girl told Henley that she and English had been communicating daily by text, video chat, and by applications on the cellular devices, the affidavit stated.
“They have talked about having a long-term relationship together and about getting married,” the affidavit stated. “[The victim] said Mr. English has kissed her with a closed mouth and an open mouth multiple times, while at school, while at church and during transport on the church bus.”
The girl also allegedly told Henley has reached under her shirt and touched her inappropriately.
Later that day, Webb and John Courtney, the high school principal, confronted English about the allegations and confirmed that he was in an improper relationship with the victim, the affidavit stated. At that point, English resigned from Hudson ISD.
“Hudson ISD's mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for all students and staff members,” Webb said. “I am proud of the quick response of our administrative team and the Hudson ISD Police Department.”
After English resigned as a teacher with Hudson ISD, the case was turned over to the Hudson ISD Police Department, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), and the Texas Education Agency's Department of Investigations, according to the statement Webb e-mailed to KTRE.
English also allegedly provided a written statement to Henley after he was made aware of his Miranda rights.
“James English said he did kiss and make sexual contact with [the victim] multiple times and at multiple locations,” the affidavit stated. “In his statement, he said they did kiss, and he did put his hand under [the victim’s shirt].”
Webb said that regardless of the extensive training Hudson ISD employees get on this subject and safety measures, including social media policies, people often still make poor choices.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, families, and other students affected, as well as our affected staff members,” Webb said.