Father of victim reacts to Mayor Keller’s call for domestic violence, sexual assault commission

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Domestic violence has plagued New Mexico for too long. Now, there is a renewed focus right here in the metro, to help those who have survived the terror caused by someone who was supposed to love them.

Albuquerque’s Mayor, Tim Keller is calling for the creation of a new commission to focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a direct result of a task force Mayor Keller put together in 2019 to study the needs of local victims of domestic violence.

That task force is now recommending a permanent commission of advocates, people who lived these experiences, and also government agency reps. All partnering to decrease the domestic violence we’re seeing, especially in the metro.

The father of one local victim says he hopes all these ideas turn into action sooner rather than later.

Back in August, a quiet South Valley neighborhood was suddenly rattled with fear as they heard multiple gun shots as a motorcycle sped down their street. 

“I had an automatic gun shot at my house,” Jim Nessle said

28 bullet holes peppered the side of Jim Nessle’s daughter’s car. The suspected shooter? Her ex-boyfriend Gregory Lopez.

“The case has been progressing through the court system, there was a restraining order,” Nessle explained.

But shortly after his arrest, a local judge released Lopez. Nessle was shocked, but the worse was still to come.

He says Lopez has violated his conditions of release multiple times, including reaching out to the family. Yet he is still free even after these violations

“The judge said if you make contact, we will put you in jail,” Nessle said. “Well he did it three times! And the judge didn’t put him back in jail!”

Then even more frustration because the case was pushed back again, so now Nessle doesn’t expect his daughter’s case to be heard until next summer.

But Nessle has hope, not just for his daughter, but for all victims through Albuquerque’s recently proposed commission to help victims of domestic violence.

“If it puts boots and activity on the ground that puts separation distance between a victim and the attacker and provides the victim with the resources to actually someway advocates for them on their behalf,” Nessle said.

Retired Albuquerque police commander and KOB 4 public safety expert Paul Szych agrees. This commission has to be more than just another task force.

“Its wonderful to talk about things, it’s good to collaborate with a multitude of resources around DV and stalking and sexual assault cases, but it is foundationally necessary to get between the offender and the victim,” Szych said.

He says the Nessle case is a prime example of what this commission needs to prevent.

“That is an absolute failure to take someone who is clearly a predator and then release them back in the streets when the person they are clearly going to target again is out there also,” Szych said.

As for Nessle, he hopes the commission considers the hoops people like his daughter have to jump through just to try and see justice through.

“She wants no contact with this person I mean why is there even a debate about stopping the restraining order or not, this is not on the table, she wants nothing to do with this guy,” Nessle said.

Mayor Keller announced the domestic violence commission Monday saying:

“We have to work together so that we can make sure our city has the services and programs to support some of our most vulnerable populations. Our community needs a permanent commission working to address the gaps in the system that are keeping folks at risk for domestic violence and assault”

If you’re in a dangerous situation here are a few places you can go for help including the Family Advocacy Center, Steel Bridge, or the S.A.F.E. House all right here in Albuquerque.

Or you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233.