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A gym teacher in Pasadena, Tex. has been arrested for having an affair with a 14-year-old student.
Rebecca De La Garza, 26, met the 8th grade girl while teaching at Thompson Intermediate. The two exchanged 22,400 text messages and 2,400 phone calls over an 8 month period, according to probable cause documents.
Police also allege that the two engaged in sexual contact while at school--in both De La Garza's office and the locker room storage closet.
The affair came to light after the teen's mother discovered the text messages, reports KTRK-TV. They allegedly contained proclamations of love and desire.
As second-degree felonies, each charge carries a minimum sentence of 2 years, and a maximum sentence of 20. Convicted defendants will also be placed on the state's sex offender registry, and may have to pay a $10,000 fine.
If convicted, Rebecca De La Garza could face up to 40 years in prison. Texas law allows the sexual assault of children to be punished by consecutive, or stacked, sentences. Judges therefore have significantly more discretion to impose longer jail terms in cases of sexual abuse.
Given the amount of evidence, a 40-year sentence is unlikely. Rebecca De La Garza will probably enter a plea deal with prosecutors, which generally results in lesser time. Regardless, she will never teach again.
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