JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A guilty verdict was reached Wednesday for a former high school teacher charged with exchanging sexual text messages with a student.
34-year-old Jonathan Hastings was convicted on two counts.
Using a computer to commit a crime, and distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity.
It took just two hours of deliberation for the jury to reach a verdict.
Hastings closed his eyes as he heard the judge read the two guilty verdicts.
In spring 2015, a 17-year-old student came forward, saying she exchanged sexual text messages with Hastings, a Jackson High School teacher and coach at the time.
His defense argued that the 34-year-old didn’t break the law, saying that he never asked for naked photos of the girl, and didn’t send any pictures of his genitals.
But the prosecution claimed Hastings intended to have sexual encounters with the girl based on previous sexual relationships he had with former students.
“We’re very pleased with the verdict. The jury did a great job considering the evidence and the law,” said Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka.
As he was leaving the courtroom, Hastings was heard saying “It’s just wrong.”
The former teacher could face 10 years in prison.
But the sentence is up to the judge.
“The takeaway is that if you’re a teacher, there’s an expectation of trust, certainly by parents that you’re looking out for the student,” Jarzynka said.
Hastings will be back in court in December for sentencing.
JACKSON, Mich (WLNS) – The jury has found a former Jackson High School teacher guilty of inappropriately texting a 17-year-old student.
32-year old Jonathon Hastings has been on trial since Monday and went to the jury this morning. They deliberated just over two hours before reaching the guilty verdict.
The jury said Hastings is guilty with using a computer to commit a crime and promoting or distributing child sexually abusive activity.
The charges stem from a text exchange that is alleged to have occurred April 20, 2015, between Hastings and a Jackson High student.
Prosecutors say Hastings provoked her to sent sexual material and sent two pictures of his own naked body.
But the defense argued Hastings never broke the law because he didn’t receive any naked pictures of the girl or send pictures of his genitals.
6 News is in the courtroom and will update this story as it continues to develop.