HOUSTON – A Pasadena ISD teacher accused of sexually assaulting a female student appeared in court Friday morning before posting $120,000 bond.
Rebecca De La Garza, a 26-year-old physical education teacher and coach at Thompson Intermediate, is charged with two counts of improper relationship between teacher and student and two counts of sexual assault of a child.
According to court documents, the victim – a 14-year-old student – had De La Garza as her 8th grade athletics coach.
Prosecutors said the victim’s parents discovered the alleged relationship and notified police.
The victim told investigators the relationship with De La Garza began in the fall of 2010 and extended through the summer of 2011.
The victim said she and De La Garza had sexual contact on a weekly basis, always in the school coaches’ office or in the equipment storage closet in the locker room.
Police said security cameras showed the victim and De La Garza together, and other school employees verified that they often saw the victim with the coach.
The victim’s mother said her daughter and De La Garza communicated frequently via text messages and phone calls.
Police said they found about 22,437 texts between the victim and De La Garza – sent at all hours of the day and night, and more than 2,400 phone calls.
A forensic examination of the victim’s phone turned up messages in which the two professed their love and desire for one another, police said.
De La Garza was arrested in front of her home on Thursday.
Pasadena ISD officials said they first learned of the allegations against De La Garza over the summer, so they immediately put her on administrative leave.
She was not an active teacher at the school this year.
District officials sent a letter to parents regarding De La Garza’s arrest Thursday afternoon.
"They are a teacher, and you’re supposed to trust them," parent Elizabeth Guzman said. "You hear a lot about it now. You just have to be aware of what’s going on with your kids."
De La Garza’s next court date is set for November 10, 2011.
If convicted on the sexual assault charges, she could face two to 20 years in prison.