KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Independence, Mo., teacher accused of molesting a 14-year-old student faced a judge Tuesday.
James Owens, 27, wouldn't answer questions outside the courthouse about the alleged sexual relationship that took place while he taught band at William Chrisman High School, but several students say rumors flooded school halls for months before he was charged.
"I think it's nasty," said freshman Bailey Dumas. "He is a grown man."
She went to school with the alleged victim at Bingham Middle School and William Chrisman High School. Dumas said Owens also taught there, and the relationship started last year when the victim was in eighth grade.
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Police confirm the victim told school counselors the relationship with Owens started the previous school year in March.
"It is unfortunate," said Bailey's mother Jamie. "I have two daughters," she said, shaking her head. "They would have to keep me behind bars."
Owens hadn't been at school since August when police came to investigate. Someone called police after intercepting a Facebook chat between Owens and the girl. Police later confiscated a cell phone, iPad and computer from Owens' home revealing topless pictures of the girl and more than 1,500 text messages between them.
Owens promised a judge he hasn't had any contact with anyone under 18 years old, including family members.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 30, 2013.