An­other $1.6M paid for al­leged abuse

New suit says two Santa Fe girls also vic­tim­ized by former teacher

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY T.S. LAST JOUR­NAL NORTH

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.

Gary Gregor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.