ST. LOUIS — A former guidance counselor at a St. Louis County high school exchanged sexual messages with a 15-year-old student and had sexual contact or made inappropriate advances to at least nine other female students, he admitted Tuesday in federal court.
James Q. Jenkins, 38, pleaded guilty to coercing a minor to engage in sexual activity and sending sexually explicit images to a minor. He still faces several other charges in St. Louis County, including second-degree rape, sexual contact with a student and furnishing pornographic material to a minor.
Jenkins worked at Hancock Place High School during the 2020-2021 school year.
Court documents said Jenkins used his position to build relationships with female students, often seeking them out and offering to help them work through problems at home, according to a plea agreement. He then contacted some on their cellphones and asked them to perform or describe sex acts.
People are also reading…
One student said he had sex with her even after she said no. Jenkins denied in the plea agreement that the encounter was not consensual.
Teachers and other administrators told law enforcement officials they were concerned about his behavior, noting he often put off seeing male students in need of counseling while “demonstrating alarming familiarity” with female students.
In 2021, Jenkins quit his job, saying his mother was ill and he needed more time to care for her. He then tried to get a job at an elementary school and law enforcement launched an inquiry, according to the plea agreement. That investigation revealed Jenkins had been placed on leave at his previous job in St. Joseph, Missouri, because he had inappropriate contact with female students.
Hancock Place School District officials in September 2021 notified parents that Jenkins had been charged with multiple offenses.
Prosecutors will argue for a 15-year prison term for Jenkins’ two guilty pleas. A sentencing hearing is set for December.
No trial date has been set in the St. Louis County case.