Former high school counselor admits to having sex with student, having inappropriate contact with several others

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A former high school counselor in St. Louis County has admitted that he had sex with a student and had inappropriate contact with nine others.

James Jenkins, 38, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor, and transfer of obscene material to minors.

Prosecutors say the inappropriate conduct went on for almost a year, between October 1, 2020 and September 1, 2021. Jenkins admitted to approaching a 15-year-old student at school and saying to her that he wanted to get to know her better. The student started to go to Jenkins’ office, where prosecutors say they would paint or play board games.

Jenkins started to contact the student on her phone and on social media and requested nude pictures of her, and sent nude pictures of himself. Jenkins told the student he loved her, wanted to have sex with her and told her not to tell anyone about their communications.

Prosecutors say he also told another student he wanted to engage in phone sex with her. Jenkins began meeting with another teen who was facing challenges at home. Prosecutors say he sent nude pictures of himself and requested nude pictures of her. He had sex with the student, and on occasion, would leave school early to do so. The victim alleged their first sexual encounter was non-consensual, something Jenkins disputed.

Several more students reported inappropriate behavior by Jenkins. School officials told Jenkins they were concerned he was not seeing male students in need of counseling while seeing certain female students frequently.

Jenkins resigned in the summer of 2021, claiming that his mother was ill and tried to become a counselor at an elementary school. Prosecutors say Jenkins had been placed on administrative leave by St. Joseph, Mo. School District due to inappropriate conduct with female students.

Jenkins could face 10 years to life in prison and a $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for December 20.