Jury deliberations start for Jackson teacher accused of sexting

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – After two days of testimony, the fate of 32-year-old Jonathan Hastings is now in the hands of a jury.

He’s the former Jackson High School teacher and baseball coach charged with sending sexually explicit text messages to a 17-year-old student.

The prosecution says he provoked her to send sexual material, and sent two pictures of his own naked body.

During the trial Tuesday morning, a Jackson Schools administrator testified that Hastings initially blamed the encounter on someone else.

“Also said his phone had been stolen for 24 hours before one of his baseball games against East Lansing,” said Benjamin Pack of Jackson Public Schools.

A Jackson Police detective on the stand said after her investigation started, multiple other students came forward.

“I believe there was five girls,” said Detective Holly Rose.

The prosecution tried to establish that this was regular behavior for Hastings.

Two women, who are both former students, took the stand and says Hastings started a sexual relationship with them as soon as they turned 18 and graduated high school.

But the defense says Hastings never broke the law because he didn’t receive any naked pictures of the girl or send pictures of his genitals.

“She said ‘He never asked me for any nude pictures.’ Nobody made any mention of bottoms or lower photographs below the waistline until page 15 of these text messages. And it was actually her who brought it up and made the issue,” said defense attorney Andrew Kirkpatrick.

Prosecutors argue it’s clear that Hastings was trying to illicit sexual material.

“This case boils down to, what was the defendant’s intent?” said Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Steve Idema.

Now that both the prosecution and defense have rested, it’s up to the jury to decide.

Deliberation begins Wednesday morning.

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