Female teacher, 32, ’emotionally blackmailed a 15-year-old student into having sex for almost a year’
- Elizabeth Vigil of Aztec, 32, is accused of sexually assaulting a then-15-year-old female student nearly every day between April and December 2017
- Vigil faces 23 felony charges: 12 counts of criminal sexual contact eight counts of criminal sexual penetration and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor
- Police said student disclosed physical relationship to therapist, who then contacted authorities
- The school told police they knew of an ‘incident’ between the teacher and student, and had removed the student from the teacher’s class – the sexual component of their relationship began after that incident
- Vigil allegedly told the student she would ‘kill herself’ if their relationship ended
- Vigil is the third Aztec High teacher to face criminal charges for sexual misconduct since 2016
Vigil was 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
A New Mexico teacher is accused of emotionally blackmailing a then-15-year-old girl into daily sexual abuse for the almost a year.
Elizabeth Vigil, 32, 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.
The victim – who was 15 at the time of the alleged abuse in 2017 – told her therapist that the teacher threatened to kill herself if the girl stopped seeing her.
According to police, Vigil told the student, a freshman, in April 2017 that she was attracted to her and asked the student if she would want to ‘do sexual things.’ Vigil then began assaulting the student almost every day, whenever she was able to be alone with her.
The encounters were on school property at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico – and at nearby San Juan park.
Vigil told the student that she ‘was in love with her and would kill herself if she left’, so the student felt forced to engage in intimate acts during summer break, police said.
As the abuse continued into the student’s sophomore year, Vigil began to talk to the student about their ‘future’ together and the possibility of being married, but the student said she ‘exploded’ and told Vigil she felt manipulated and emotionally blackmailed.
After a final sexual encounter, the pair never spoke again.
The student told police she ‘repressed everything until 2019,’ when she began seeing a school therapist. It is unclear which school she was attending at the time.
Before their physical relationship began, Aztec High School administration had pulled the student from Vigil’s class due to an exchange of Instagram messages that was ‘flirtatious’ but not ‘sexual in nature.’
The messages continued after the school’s intervention, according to an affidavit, and the student told investigators that she felt Vigil ‘was lying to her, manipulating her and emotionally blackmailing her to stay together.’
The student had five ‘breakdowns’ in this timeframe, the affidavit said.
Vigil told the student that she ‘was in love with her and would kill herself if she left’ – afraid that her teacher would actuate her suicidal words, the student continued to engage in intimate acts during summer break (pictured: Aztec High School)
Aztec Superintendent Kevin Summers said the school’s ‘first priority is the safety of our students and community.’
‘To this end, (Aztec Municipal Schools) has committed to full cooperation with State and Local authorities and has been engaged in conversations with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Professional Licensure Bureau.’
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 then having sex with a 15-year-old student; these charges were quickly 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 conducting relationships with multiple girls.
Police began investigating Coulter in 2017 when their investigation into the school shooting in December led to the discovery of intimate messages between the teacher and one of two students who had been shot.