SANTA FE, N.M. -- Accused of sexually abusing elementary school girls across three different states, an Española man and former teacher appeared in court years after many of his crimes were committed.
Gary Gregor was expected to take a plea deal, but that's not what happened. He rejected the agreement.
This is the second time Gregor has rejected a plea from the state. This plea would have put jail time between 19 and 50 years. If convicted, he could have faced more than 150 years.
Attorney General Hector Balderas said the survivors were open to a plea arrangement so they wouldn't have to go to trial and continue going through this process, but now the case will be heard in January.
According to court documents, Gregor has been charged with multiple felonies including three counts of criminal sexual penetration, five counts of kidnapping and multiple counts of criminal sexual contact with a child.
Balderas said the state is done playing games, has been ready to go to trial for months and is committed to pursuing the maximum amount of accountability.
"This is a breach of trust case," the attorney general said. "We rely on school teachers to protect our children every day on the front lines and so these types of heinous acts deserve accountability. We want to make sure we bring justice. For too many years, these survivors and victims were ignored, and this case is also about shedding light on the horrific tragedy that these young ladies experience."
Balderas also said there were red flags and a number of systemic failures over decades. He said the Legislature needs to work on addressing these problems.
Right now his goal is to bring justice to the victims. The attorney general called Gregor's decision to reject the plea deal regrettable.