ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher was sentenced to prison on Friday for raping a second-grade student.

In August, a jury convicted Danny Aldaz, 47, of two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and two counts of criminal sexual contact. In 2018 and 2019, he raped a 7-year-old student in his Valle Vista Elementary School classroom, where he taught second grade.

Aldaz faced emotional testimony on Friday from one of his many accusers. “This has affected my life so much that most days I get scared to even walk through the school doors and it’s even harder for me to sit in a classroom and focus, because the first thing that my mind goes to is all of the gruesome things that this man has done to me,” says one accuser.

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Prosecutors also read letters from several other people who’ve accused Aldaz of similar abuse. In 2020, five students from different APS schools came forward accusing Aldaz of rape and other sex crimes.

Aldaz didn’t speak in court on Friday, but his attorney asked for a reasonable sentence, saying he’s the primary caretaker for a daughter with special needs. However, Bernalillo County District Court Judge Joseph Montaño gave Aldaz the maximum sentence. “She’s lost her sense of safety, belonging and trust, and really it was taken at your hands. The conviction, any sentence that I give, doesn’t erase what happened,” said Montaño.

Aldaz was ordered to spend the next 57 years in prison, where he’ll also be forced to take rehabilitation classes. He still could face four other trials for the remaining victims, with another trial slated for next month. Prosecutors also revealed on Friday that Aldaz has been indicted on new charges after another accuser came forward during the first trial. 

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office said it will meet with family members of other children and determine if it’s in their best interest to move forward with those trials.