ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Carlos E. Sedillo with Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway (FCHC) and Matthew Zamora with Valle, O’Cleireachain, Zamora & Harris have filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and one of its former teachers, Danny Aldez, for the sexual assault, negligence, battery, and emotional distress, as well as violating civil rights protections under the 14th Amendment and Title IX, of a second-grade student during the 2012-2013 school year at Helen Cordero Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the State of Mexico County of Bernalillo Second Judicial Court (Case: D-202-CV-2023-08129), alleges that while serving as a second-grade teacher at Helen Cordero Elementary, Aldez routinely and systematically sexually abused a then seven- and eight-year-old student in the classroom on at least 20 separate occasions throughout the school year, while other children were present.
“A school should be a safe place for our young children to learn and grow, not to be preyed upon by a trusted member of the faculty,” said Carlos Sedillo, an attorney at FCHC who is representing the student. “A school and teacher’s negligence and disregard for the safety of its students has led to lifelong trauma for at least one young girl. Justice and accountability must be served.”
Aldez singled out the student while other classmates worked on assignments. Aldez’s abuse continued throughout the schoolyear, often in the presence of other students, but on some occasions in a locked classroom alone with the student, and even in a storage closet.
The student received special treatment compared to the other classmates. She was often not required to complete class assignments, given better grades, and was named the student of the week on many occasions, a title only given to female students. This “special” treatment led her to be called a “teacher’s pet” by fellow second graders who accused her of getting off easy because she didn’t have to complete class assignments.
Aldez warned the student to not tell anyone about the assault because it was their “little secret,” and that her mother would be upset with her if she found out.
While Aldez is no longer able to sexually abuse the student, now 18, she is suffering long term effects of the abuse and has been forced to seek therapy, has trouble concentrating in class, and has involuntary visions of Aldez’s abuse. The assaults by the student’s teacher at such a young age has led her to pervasive feelings of distrust and sadness.
“For its part, APS had a duty to protect its students, which includes properly training, screening, supervising and disciplining teachers and staff, which it failed to do in the instance of Aldez. These failures caused The Student to be subjected to physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse,” Sedillo added.
It’s believed Aldez sexually abused at least 6 children while a teacher at various APS schools between 2005 – 2020, but that number could be higher.
Other former students of Aldez are encouraged to come forward if they, too, were abused by Aldez. Survivors can visit https://contact.fchclaw.com/nm-sex-abuse or call 866-841-2567 for more information on how to hold Aldez accountable for any abuse they may have endured while a student of his.
About Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C.
Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway is a reputable law firm located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, renowned for its commitment to providing exceptional legal services. With a strong presence in the legal community, the firm boasts a team of highly skilled and experienced attorneys who specialize in various areas of law, including personal injury, workers' compensation, Social Security disability, and more.
About Valle, O’Cleireachain, Zamora & Harris
With a diverse team of accomplished attorneys specializing in various practice areas, Valle, O'Cleireachain, Zamora & Harris (VOZH) offers comprehensive legal services to clients across a broad spectrum, including personal injury, wrongful deaths, insurance law, medical malpractice and claims against the government. VOZH’s dedication to providing its clients with caring representation has earned them a reputation as a highly respected law firm in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico.