Third settlement reached in case alleging sexual abuse
Española Public Schools has settled with another plaintiff accusing Gary Gregor, a former teacher, of sexually assaulting her when she was a student in his fourth-grade class.
This is the third settlement in a series of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Gregor, who also is facing criminal charges in three separate cases in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties. Before he taught in Española elementary schools, Gregor was a teacher in Santa Fe, where he is accused of repeatedly raping at least one girl and molesting another.
The latest settlement, reached in September for $1.6 million in a pending civil case, brings the total amount the Española district has agreed to pay Gregor’s accusers to $9.1 million, a figure likely to balloon when the school district settles with three other plaintiffs in the case.
Carolyn M. “Cammie” Nichols, an attorney representing claimants in cases against Gregor, filed a similar lawsuit last week against Santa Fe Public Schools on behalf of two women who say they were abused by Gregor when he was a fourth-grade teacher at the now closed Agua Fría Elementary School during the 2003-04 school year.
Gregor, 62, is charged with multiple felonies — including criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual penetration — in relation to his alleged assaults on schoolchildren. The charges were filed in 2017, three years after Nichols filed her first civil suit against the Española school district over allegations against Gregor and eight years after parents in Española had reported the teacher to police — with no results.
One of the criminal cases pending against Gregor is set to go to trial in December. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 165 years in prison.
Nichols has argued in lawsuits that education officials are liable for damages related to Gregor’s behavior, in part because they didn’t properly screen him before they hired him. She says he was accused of wrongdoing in Utah and Montana before he started working at Santa Fe Public Schools.
After he faced complaints in Santa Fe, the district asked Gregor to resign and agreed to give him a neutral recommendation — allowing him to continue teaching in the Española district, where his alleged abuse of children continued.