2 NM school districts face suit over former teacher

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A man who lost his New Mexico teacher’s license after allegations of improper contact with female students is the center of a lawsuit that also names the Santa Fe and Espanola school districts, as well as school officials in both districts.

The lawsuit was filed late last week in District Court.

Gary Gregor is accused of repeatedly fondling an Espanola fourth grade student during the 2007-2008 school year.

Cammie Nichols, the attorney representing the girl and her family, said Gregor should not have been hired by Espanola Public Schools in the first place.

“Basic investigation into Mr. Gregor’s background should have raised some major red flags for anyone thinking of hiring him once he left Utah,” Nichols said in a phone interview. “He should never have been hired by an elementary school in the state of New Mexico, much less two.”

According to the complaint, Gregor was charged for sexual misconduct with students in the 1990s in Utah. That case was dismissed.

Gregor was hired by Santa Fe Public Schools in 2000. In 2004, Gregor resigned from his position teaching at Agua Fria Elementary after he got into trouble for ‘fondling girls’ on a field trip. The complaint states nothing was reported to CYFD or law enforcement, and that when he resigned the district agreed to give Gregor a neutral reference.

Gregor was hired by Espanola Public Schools in 2005, and began working at Fairview Elementary the next year.

According to the complaint during the 2007-2008 year, Gregor assigned the girl named in the suit to sit next to him. She said he touched her hundreds of times inappropriately, and that when she tried to move, he marked her math test score down from an ‘A’ to a ‘B.’

The complaint includes similar allegations against Gregor by two other girls.

“The young woman in question is still profoundly impacted, profoundly hurt by what happened to her over the course of that school year,” Nichols said.

The girl’s father filed a complaint with law enforcement the day after she told her family in 2009. Gregor was placed on leave after that.

The state Public Education Department refused to renew his teaching license.

The suit seeks damages, saying the school districts and officials failed to protect the girl, and didn’t adequately screen Gregor.

Attempts to reach Gregor and the school principals named in the suit were unsuccessful.  Calls to both school districts weren’t returned.

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