Another $1.6M paid for alleged abuse
New suit says two Santa Fe girls also victimized by former teacher
SANTA FE — Another alleged sexual abuse victim of former teacher Gary Gregor has reached a settlement with the Española Public Schools, this time for $1.6 million.
That means a total of $9.2 million has now been paid out in settlements because of Gregor’s interactions with young girls while he taught at Española’s Fairview Elementary School, his last stop in a teaching career littered with accusations of improper and criminal behavior.
And this week, a new lawsuit was filed on behalf of still more alleged victims of Gregor, who taught in Santa Fe before he was hired in Española.
The latest settlement, approved in September, was reached with one of four girls who brought the third of three lawsuits filed against Española Schools and Gregor, who is now in jail facing multiple criminal charges related to inappropriately touching young girls who were his students.
An Española student identified as Jane Doe 3 will receive the $1.6 million paid through the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority. The suit she was involved with remains active for three remaining Jane Doe plaintiffs.
Private insurers covering losses through the insurance authority previously paid a total of $7.6million in settlement payments to two other Española girls who were Gregor’s students in the 2007-08 school year.
On Wednesday, attorney Cammie Nichols — who also brought the Española lawsuits — filed suit on behalf of two former students of Gregor at Santa Fe’s former Agua Fria Elementary School. Named as defendants are Gregor, Santa Fe Public Schools and Vickie Sewing, the school’s principal when the abuse is alleged to have been committed in 2004.
“These two young women were the first students he abused in New Mexico that we know of, and they are finally able to unburden themselves of their stories about what happened to them,” Nichols said Thursday. “Hopefully, this will bring healing for them and the community, and I hope good comes out of this for safeguards being put in place so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
The new lawsuit says that both alleged Santa Fe victims, now in their early 20s, “have serious mental health problems, including problems rendering them incapable of managing their affairs, with symptoms such as disassociation and addiction.”
It was “commonplace” for the girls to sit on Gregor’s lap and he would become aroused, “although they did not initially understand what was happening.” He also would arrange to be alone with the girls during lunch or recess, one at a time, and groped them, raped them and had them touch or kiss his private parts, the suit says.
The suit says principal Sewing failed to contact the Children, Youth and Families Department or law enforcement, despite reports of inappropriate behavior from students and from docents at the Museum of International Folk Art, who saw Gregor misbehaving with girls on a field trip.
Before he came to New Mexico, Gregor was charged with sex crimes, later dismissed, while a teacher in Utah. But Santa Fe Public Schools hired him anyway. “A simple background check by Defendant SFPS, including basic research of public records, would have revealed the criminal charges,” the lawsuit says.
SFPS also gave a “neutral” recommendation for Gregor when he left the district, despite the allegations of improper behavior he faced while working there.