Law office urges victims of former APS teacher to explore civil options

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque law office is calling for sexual assault victims to come forward against former APS teacher Danny Aldaz, saying the window to file a civil lawsuit may be closing.

In August, a jury convicted Aldaz of molesting a 7-year-old student in his classroom in 2019. Five other students have made similar allegations, and attorneys believe there may be more victims out there – and they are using Facebook ads to find them.

The ad is straightforward, saying, “Were you or a loved one sexually abused by former teacher Danny Aldaz?”

“In this case, we’re hopeful that it at least gets the word out to people that they at least know there’s a time limit, whether they come to our firm or not,” FCHC attorney Carlos Sedillo said.

In 2021, 4 Investigates uncovered pictures of a makeshift closet in Aldaz’s second grade classroom. Prosecutors say Aldaz created the space by blocking off a hallway with a filing cabinet and a red blanket.

“It was in that closet that the defendant committed the crime of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman said in front of a jury in August.

While the criminal cases against Aldaz are already underway – with one conviction and a total of 27 other felony charges for sexual abuse of minors between 2013 to 2019 – the FCHC Law office says they want to make sure all the victims consider their civil options before it’s too late.

“In these cases, many of the victims were underage, and when you’re underage, you have until you’re 19 to file,” Sedillo said. “We have a case right now where we just filed, she just turned 18.”

But Aldaz isn’t the only person Sedillo wants to see held accountable. These civil cases could also question whether or not Albuquerque Public Schools turned a blind eye.

“Specifically, in the cases against Daniel Aldaz, there were a lot of signs and red flags that were just ignoring,” Sedillo said. “Because of that, I think it’s important to look at the victim and put them ahead right now, because something tragic happened to them by someone who was doing something truly evil. But also the organization itself needs to have an introspective look and see what they can do differently next time, so it doesn’t happen again.”

Sedillo added that he understands how hard it is for victims of sexual assault to come forward, so he wants people to know you never have to release your identity. Any consultation their law firm provides regarding these cases is free and confidential.