Families sue Espanola School District over alleged molestations by former teacher
Three more families are now suing a New Mexico school district, claiming the district knew the teacher was molesting students but did nothing to stop it.
Within the last two years, the Espanola School District has already agreed to pay out millions of dollars to two other families who accused Gary Gregor of the same thing.
Gregor was a teacher at Fairview Elementary in Espanola for three years from 2006 to 2009. In those three years, Albuquerque Attorney Cammie Nichols said Gregor preyed on young girls in his class.
“They carried this with them all this time,” Nichols said. “So they’re finally now able to speak out about it.”
Most of the girls are in their late teens but at the time of the alleged abuse, they were not even 10 years old.
“They’re groomed to trust him and think of his as a friend and somebody who makes them feel good about themselves or special in the class,” Nichols said.
Nichols said Gregor would give them gifts, call them at home and invite them to his house.
“Things that raise red flags for parents but they never had any idea of the extent of what was actually happening to their daughters, at the time,” she said.
Nichols said most of the abuse happened while at school.
In 2014, families started to come forward and Gregor was hit with his first federal lawsuit after a family claimed he sexually and mentally assaulted their 4th-grade daughter.
Nearly two years later, another former student claimed the same thing. In both cases, the alleged victims said school administrators, specifically the principal at the time, knew of Gregor’s inappropriate behavior but refused to take action.
Nichols said Espanol School District never should have hired Gregor in the first place.
“He had serious allegations in Utah. Those allegations were investigated and there was a reprimand issued and those records are available,” Nichols said.
According to the lawsuit, Gregor had similar allegations that stemmed out of Utah where he was a teacher in the 90’s.
In 2000 he was hired to work in Santa Fe Public Schools. He was allowed to resign quietly after he was accused of fondling girls.
“The school district should be checking PED records to see if anything comes up on their teachers, but that doesn’t necessarily happen,” Nichols said. “I guess that would be a lot to expect because again there was a paper trail about this person.”
Gregor ended up back in the classroom in Espanola.
“After doing the investigation, I do think that there are other young women who were also victimized. Whether they’ll come forward, I don’t know but I do think there were other young women who were victims of Gary Gregor,” Nichols said.
The Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against Gregor for rape and kidnapping. Gregor is currently being held behind bars at the Rio Arriba Detention Center.
Espanola Public Schools agreed to a $3.2 million settlement in the first civil suit. The second suit just settled last month in court.
Story via KRQE