Recent news outlets are reporting an incident that violates every parents’ sense of safety. According the the news story, a 34 year old APS teacher has been arrested for inappropriate sexual conduct with a student. Depending on when the relationship began, this could also be known as statutory rape. In the event the allegations are true and the Albuquerque teacher faces criminal punishment, there is still no way to reverse the damage done to the child and family involved.
The situation poses a unique question under New Mexico injury law. Specifically, “When can the school be held accountable for the conduct of a teacher or employee.” As is often the situation, the answer is complex and depends on a constellation of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to: where the relationship occurred, when it occurred, and whether there are sufficient connections to the man’s role as a teacher. Depending on the answers to these questions, New Mexico law may allow for a financial recovery against the school or APS for what may amount to statutory rape.