A former assistant band director at Waco High School who acknowledged improper sexual contact with a 15-year-old student in 2014 is asking a McLennan County jury to place him on probation.

Jason Ronald Hodges, 32, pleaded guilty Monday to indecency with a child by contact and indecency with a child by exposure in December 2014 incidents at the Waco High School music room.

Hodges was named in a nine-count indictment in June 2015 that charged him with an improper relationship between educator and student, two counts of sexual assault of a child and five counts of indecency with a child by contact, all second-degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Hodges pleaded guilty in August 2016 to two counts of sexual assault of a child in a plea bargain with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office that called for a five-year prison term on the first count and 10 years probation on the second count.

Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court rejected the plea bargain and allowed Hodges to withdraw his guilty plea. That resulted in a new agreement with prosecutors, who waived seven of the nine counts in the indictment and reduced one of the indecency counts to indecency with a child by exposure, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Hodges’ attorneys, Jeff Kearney, Reagan Wynn and Jason P. Darling, and prosecutors Hilary LaBorde and Evan O’Donnell spent most of Monday selecting a jury to hear the case.

Punishment testimony is set to start Tuesday morning.

Hodges surrendered to Waco police in January 2015 after the allegations came to light. School officials immediately removed him from the classroom, and he resigned the same day.

Messages found on the student’s computer confirmed a sexual relationship between the student and Hodges, according to records filed in the case.

The student said Hodges fondled her and they had sex in the high school’s music room during the Christmas break.

Hodges started working for Waco schools in August 2013 and worked previously in Itasca and Waxahachie school districts.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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