BELTON — Former Salado teacher and football coach Marcos Rene Garcia, 27, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of an educator having an improper relationship with a student.
Garcia, a former first-year math teacher at Salado Junior High and Salado High School, admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to a 16-year-old female student.
Initially, he also was charged with engaging in physically intimate behavior with the student, which resulted in Garcia’s indictment on one count of sexual assault, according to court documents.
At Friday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Anne Jackson informed 426th District Court Judge Fancy Jezek the state was dropping the sexual assault charge.
Although Garcia entered a guilty plea, no sentencing agreement was worked out between his attorney, Earl Gray, and the district attorney’s office, which leaves Garcia’s punishment in the hands of the court.
Improper relationship with a student is a second-degree felony and carries a punishment range from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Jezek ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and scheduled Garcia for a punishment hearing at 1:30 p.m. July 14.
In addition to teaching math, Garcia coached football and power lifting. He was hired by the Salado Independent School District after serving as a graduate assistant coach for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team for four years.
After the parents of the 16-year-old came forward with the allegations in February, Garcia offered his resignation. On March 19, he was indicted by a Bell County grand jury. He indicated his desire to plead guilty April 4.