A teacher charged with luring a student was in court in Grand Falls on Wednesday. Jody Hale was cross-examined the entire day by Crown Prosecutor Karen O’Reilly over a number of issues, including a valentine he had given the young girl and Facebook and Skype messages between him and his then 14-year-old alleged victim.
He gave her a handmade Valentine with “Open Alone” written on it three times. When asked by the prosecutor why he had done that Hale said it was because he felt the other students might be jealous that he had given her more - three in total.
“The other two had ‘Mr. Hale’ written on them and the one that said ‘open alone’ had ‘Jody’ written on it,” O’Reilly said. “ Why do you think that is?”
He said it was because of the friendship that had blossomed between them and he feared if people saw it they would get the wrong idea.
Inside the valentine were lyrics from an Adele song, “Set Fire to the Rain.”
“Why would you give a homemade card with ‘I let it fall, my heart, And as it fell you rose to claim it, It was dark and I was over, Until you kissed my lips and you saved me’ written on it?” O’Reilly asked.
Hale said he chose the song because he knew the girl was an Adele fan and he didn’t think anything about the lyrics at the time but realizes now it was inappropriate.
“It isn’t just inappropriate between a teacher and a student but between a 40-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl,” O’Reilly said.
Social Media was a big part of the relationship between Hale and the young girl and Hale said he had conversed with other students via social media but none to the extent he communicated with the alleged victim. They sent messages back and forth on an almost daily basis and he admitted to the court many times that it was “inappropriate and “never should have happened.” He said he wasn’t in a right state of mind after some personal issues with his wife and couldn’t see what he was doing was wrong.
One of the points the crown touched upon in the evidence was a game of truth or dare Hale played with the young girl over the Internet. He asked her how old she was when she had her first kiss and when O’Reilly asked him about it he once again said it was inappropriate but he had no sexual intent.
Another part of the conversations O’Reilly touched upon was when the young girl said she wished she had a boyfriend to give her a massage and that she would pay someone to do it. Hale replied by saying he would do it for free. He told the court he didn’t mean he would massage the girl by saying that.
“So you’re telling me she says she’d pay someone to massage her, you say you’d do it for free and that you’re not offering to massage her?” O’Reilly said.
Hale responded it was a general statement that he likes massaging people and does it for free.
While the case was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday the Crown had not finished cross-examining Hale and a date of May 27 was set to conclude the case. Hale is also scheduled to appear on that date on a separate charge of luring another young girl.