New Mexico teacher Elizabeth Vigil is accused of emotionally manipulating a 15-year-old girl into having sex with her for almost a year in 2017.
Vigil, 32, was arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday. She is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center. She has been charged with eight counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, 12 counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Vigil Assaulted the Student 'Almost Every Day'
On April 5, a therapist reported to Aztec police that her client was abused by a teacher when she was 15 years old, between April and December 2017.
Investigators spoke to the Aztec High School principal, who told them the school was aware of an incident between Vigil and the girl but said that "flirtatious" messages were exchanged between the student and Vigil on Instagram and were not "sexual in nature." The victim's parents had found the messages on the girl's phone and reported them to administration, who had the girl moved to another class.
On April 16, the police met with the girl who told them the abuse began after she was shifted to another classroom. The girl, who was a freshman at the time of the alleged assault, said Vigil told her she was attracted to her and asked if she "would want to do sexual things." The victim said she was assaulted "almost every day" when they were alone at the school and at a nearby park.
Vigil Threatened Her with Suicide
At one point, when the girl said she did not want to continue the sexual relationship, she told her she was in love with her and would kill herself if she left.
The girl told police she was scared Vigil was suicidal and continued to engage in intimate acts with Vigil into summer break. She said the sexual abuse continued into the next school year and Vigil began to talk about a future and the two getting married.
In December 2017, the girl told police she "exploded" on Vigil and told her how she felt manipulated and emotionally blackmailed by the teacher. She said after the fight Vigil assaulted her for the last time and they didn't talk again. She told police she repressed everything until 2019 and began speaking to a therapist at her school.
Third Felony Sex Crime Linked to Aztec High School
This is the third accusation of felony sex crimes involving an Aztec High teacher since 2016. In 2016, a 22-year-old drama teacher at Aztec was arrested, accused of grooming and then having sex with a 15-year-old student.
The charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence. Later, in 2018, math and ethics teacher James Coulter was convicted of felony criminal sexual contact with a minor after engaging in relationships with multiple students.
Police started looking into Coulter in 2017 when their investigation into a school shooting in December led to the discovery of intimate messages between the teacher and one of two students who had been shot. On Dec. 7, 2017, 21-year-old ex-student William Atchison shot two students dead with a Glock 9mm pistol, before turning the gun on himself.