Two South Texas teachers have been arrested and charged with having “improper” sexual contact with students, adding to the growing list of school employees across the state accused of sex crimes against students and other children.

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District teacher Macario Zarate III was arrested and charged with improper relationship between educator and student, a second-degree felony.

Zarate is accused of engaging in criminal sexual activity with a student at PSJA Memorial Early College High School, where he taught social studies and coached track.

He was arrested February 3 by PSJA ISD police and released from Hidalgo County jail February 4 on a $20,000 bond.

A statement from school officials said he was “no longer an employee of the district” effective Friday, February 3.

Zarate’s Texas educator certificate, issued by the State Board for Educator Certification, shows that he is “under review” by the Texas Education Agency.

IDEA Public Schools teacher Karen Bereniz Sosa, 27, was also arrested and charged with improper relationship between educator and student.

Mission police said Sosa and the student had “sexual contact” off campus at a local park during the school’s winter break.

IDEA said school officials “launched a thorough investigation and are fully cooperating with local law enforcement.”

The student told police Sosa sent him “flirty texts and lewd photos” via Instagram, according to ValleyCentral.

She was arrested January 19 and released from Hidalgo County jail the same day on a $50,000 bond.

Sosa’s Texas educator certificate shows that she is “under review” by the TEA.

If convicted, Sosa and Zarate face two to 20 years in prison.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.