PHARR — A now former teacher here faces a count of improper relationship with a student after the student alleges he tried to force himself on her while she visited a family friend’s home in late April, the complaint against him states.
Eric Javier Garza, a former government and politics teacher with the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, was released from the Hidalgo County jail early Friday morning on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, jail records show.
He was booked Thursday on one count of improper relationship between educator and student after an outcry was made by the alleged victim’s family related to an incident that allegedly took place in the early morning hours of April 20.
The relative who made the outcry to police said the teen was spending the night at a family friend’s home in Mission; when Garza allegedly approached the victim while she slept in the guest room.
“The victim stated she went to sleep in the guest room and was woken up by the feeling of someone cuddling her. The victim stated at first she thought it was her aunt laying in bed with her,” the complaint states. “The victim stated she felt arms around her but due to the room being very dark had no idea who it was.”
The victim, who was not identified but assigned a pseudonym of ‘Victoria Vega’ in the probable cause affidavit, stated she then felt Garza grab one of her breasts outside her clothing, and then under her clothes.
“The victim stated she felt kisses on her neck, and attempted to get away but was unable to due to (Garza) holding her down with one arm while grabbing her bare breast underneath all her clothing,” the complaint states. “The victim stated while being held down on the bed with her back against (Garza’s) front, she felt (Garza’s) penis pressed against her back side.”
The alleged victim additionally told police she felt as though Garza was attempting to insert his penis into her when Garza allegedly attempted to pull down on her shorts — but she said that she was able to stop him from doing so.
“The victim stated she continued to move and push his hands away, eventually getting loose from (Garza’s) grip,” the document states.
She told police that when she got loose from the man, she stood up, opened the door to the room, and saw Eric Garza, who she identified to police as her high school government and politics teacher.
“The victim stated she said “What the f***,” as she walked out of the room. The victim stated she went to the room where her aunt was asleep and fell asleep on the floor,” the affidavit states.
“Eric Garza is a teacher at PSJA Thomas Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School. Prior to COVID-19, the victim was in one of the defendant’s classes. At the time of the incident, the victim was still turning in school work via internet to the defendant.”
In a prepared statement, officials with PSJA ISD stated that Child Protective Services contacted district officials on April 27, 2020 regarding alleged “inappropriate conduct” by a teacher.
In the release, Garza’s name is not mentioned, but states the teacher in question is no longer employed with the district. A date for when Garza’s employment with the district ended was not provided.
“The district took immediate and appropriate action, assisting CPS and the Mission Police Department with the investigation. The teacher in question is no longer employed by the district and has been reported to the appropriate entities such as the State Board of Educators Certification Office,” the release states. “At PSJA ISD all reports of this nature are taken very seriously to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.”
If convicted of the second-degree felony, Garza could face between two and 20 years in prison.