ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (KRQE) – Many victims of sexual abuse stayed silent for years, but now more and more are speaking out and it’s also happening right here in New Mexico.
Albuquerque Police have seen a recent spike in sex crimes victims coming forward years later.
An Albuquerque attorney says now is the time to finally put an end to these crimes.
“This should be a wake up call. This is endemic. It is in every one of our systems,” said Laura Schauer-Ives.
Sex crimes are happening everywhere, and APS is no exception.
A former Monte Vista Elementary student recently filed a lawsuit against a teacher she had twenty years ago.
The student claims her teacher touched her inappropriately when she was a student from 1998-2003.
That student also claims an APS employee knew about the abuse, but did nothing to stop the teacher. That teacher remained at APS employee until he retired in 2015.
It took decades for the student to gather the courage to file the lawsuit against the man she says abused her.
Schauer-Ives says this is becoming more common with sexual abuse victims.
“Boys and girls and women have suffered, they didn’t recognize it as abuse. They thought that they were alone,” she said.
The current law allows adults who were victims of sex crimes as minors, to pursue a case against their alleged abuser. People who were abused as adults, may not have that option.
“If the person who is a victim is over the age of 18, the statute of limitations exception doesn’t apply,” said Schauer-Ives.
Regardless of how long it’s been, Schauer-Ives says now is the best time for victims to speak up.
“People are more willing to hear it and believe it than we have been historically,” she said.
Now she’s encouraging school administrators, doctors, church leaders, and all other people in positions of authority to listen.
“We need to accept that this is happening. Believe people when they say it’s happening, and do everything our power to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Schauer-Ives.
The State Attorney General joined forces with a victim of sexual abuse to propose Senate Bill 87. The goal is to tighten the laws against people accused of abuse. They are urging Governor Susana Martinez to quickly pass that bill.
Schauer-Ives says another reason why victims wait so long to report sex abuse crimes is because they’re afraid no one will believe them.