Former teacher Gary Gregor — previously sentenced to more than 100 years in prison after being convicted of molesting students in Española — was scheduled to stand trial for a third time Tuesday in connection to allegations he also sexually assaulted two Santa Fe girls.
But the trial was postponed because a jury selection hearing Monday did not net enough jurors to hear the case.
Attorney General’s Office spokesman Matt Baca wrote in an email not enough potential jurors showed up for the hearing, but First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer wrote the subject matter of the case was a defining factor in the outcome of the selection hearing.
In an email, Sommer wrote a number of people were eliminated “for cause” by attorneys based on personal biases or other issues, such as already having an opinion about the defendant’s guilt.
Gregor, 64, has been convicted of molesting three children while working at Fairview Elementary School during the 2007-08 school year.
He had been scheduled to stand trial on multiple counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor related to allegations he abused two girls while working at Agua Fria Elementary School in Santa Fe during the 2003-04 school year.
Española Public Schools has agreed to pay settlements totaling about $21 million to plaintiffs who said they were assaulted by Gregor. His case has been widely reported by local media outlets and was also featured on Nightline in 2017 as part of a segment called “Passing the Trash,” about schools that unload problem teachers by keeping quiet about misconduct.
Gregor had worked as a teacher in Utah and Montana before he began teaching in Santa Fe in 2001. He was accused of inappropriate behavior with underage girls in both states before coming to New Mexico, according to testimony at a previous sentencing hearing. He was never criminally charged in either state.
Concerns about Gregor emerged in Santa Fe in 2004, when employees at the Museum of International Folk Art reported to school officials they’d seen Gregor inappropriately touching Agua Fría Elementary fourth graders during a field trip to the museum.
Santa Fe Public Schools eventually served Gregor with a notice of discharge, according to previous reports, but after he agreed to resign, no one reported him to police and district officials agreed to provide a neutral recommendation to his next employer.
The court called 77 potential jurors to participate in the jury selection hearing, according to Baca, but only 39 of them showed up and 22 of those were excused for cause, leaving only 17 potential jurors. Once prosecutors and defense attorneys exercised their right to dismiss eight more [five by the defense and three by the state] there were too few jurors remaining to hold the trial.
“We agreed next time we’ll call more than 70; again because of the subject matter,” Sommer wrote in an email.