ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former APS student is now suing the district and former teacher, Danny Aldaz, saying he continually sexually assaulted her when she was his student. Aldaz has already been convicted for similar crimes and is facing four more criminal trials for sexual assault charges.
The legal troubles continue for Aldaz, who was convicted in August of raping a seven-year-old girl. Another student is now suing Aldaz, saying he sexually assaulted her at least 20 times while she was his student at Helen Cordero Elementary during the 2012-2013 school year.
“This was important to be able to seek justice and to be able to essentially effectuate change through expressing her voice and being able to stand up for the wrongs that were committed,” said Matthew Zamora, one of the attorney’s representing the plaintiff.
According to the lawsuit, Aldaz would put the plaintiff on his lap during class, touch her, and sexually assault her in a storage closet. APS is also named in the lawsuit.
“The allegations not only in this complaint but even in the other criminal cases show that he had his classroom set up in such a way, would lock doors, would be alone with students in the classroom with the locked doors, and was caught that way many times,” said Carlos Sedillo, the second attorney representing the plaintiff. “All those red flags should have escalated this way up the chain way sooner that it did, and instead, it let this ongoing abuse occur over multiple plaintiffs.”
In addition to his conviction in August, the lawsuit said Aldaz still faces 27 felony charges for abusing girls from 2013-2019 and has four upcoming criminal trials for the cases starting in February, including a case involving the plaintiff in this lawsuit.
“On the criminal side, it does punish him, but on the civil side, it brings justice to her as well as get him behind bars,” said Sedillo.
“Under the criminal justice system, he would be punished presumably with jail time. That would punish him directly. However, there’s no recourse for the victim and therefore, civilly, the victim has an opportunity to seek justice on their own and for their own individual claim,” said Zamora.
Aldaz is still awaiting sentencing on the charges he’s already been convicted of. In that case, he faces up to 50 years in prison.