Nallely Hernandez said she’s been waiting for the moment to look Gary Gregor in the eye and tell him the pain he caused her.
Wednesday, the now former Española teacher was convicted of molesting Hernandez and another classmate. Hernandez was 9 years old at the time of the abuse.
Today, she said she feels, “strong.”
“I wanted justice for what happened to not only myself, but to countless of girls,” she said.
Hernandez, 21, said she promised herself years ago that she’d never let fear stop her from facing Gregor in court one day.
“I was ready for it. I was ready to take it on,” she said.
Gregor, 62, was a teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Española when the abuse happened.
Hernandez and the other woman in the case are not the only students who’ve accused Gregor of the same thing.
The trial began last week and ended in just a four-hour jury deliberation. Gregor was facing three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, four counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and five counts of kidnapping. He was found guilty of all 12.
“He actually made eye contact with me and I just felt so much more empowered when he did that because I didn’t have that scared look in my eyes that I did when I was younger,” Hernandez said.
Attorney General Hector Balderas, whose office handled the case, called Gregor a “serial predator.”
“It shouldn’t take 10 years to get justice,” he said.
Balderas also called out the Española School District and law enforcement, saying they failed these children.
“They tried to reach out and ask for help and there were systemic failures here in New Mexico,” he said. “Nallely is a good example of the most powerful individuals seeking justice even when the system is not perfect.”
Now a mom and a UNM student, studying nursing, Hernandez said life is busy
“I take my child everywhere where I go. She even sits in class with me,” she said.
Hernandez said she also has a message for other survivors.
“I have to say that, ‘I am here for you and there’s no need to be afraid, because there will always be someone to help you and you’re not in this alone,'” she said.
Gregor faces up to 168 years behind bars. He still has two more trials left with other victims. One is set in January, the other in April.
The Española School District has already paid out more than $9 million to settle lawsuits involving Gregor.