Woman in alleged 'passing the trash' sexual abuse case plans to speak against alleged abuser

Nallely Hernandez, now 19, claims her fourth-grade teacher sexually abused her and hopes sharing her story will help others.
9:18 | 12/22/17

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Transcript for Woman in alleged 'passing the trash' sexual abuse case plans to speak against alleged abuser
He started touching us in improper places. Reporter: This is the rarely seen footage of a young girl alleging abuse in her elementary school classroom. Are you more comfortable in that chair? Yeah. Reporter: Struggling to find the right words to describe the inexplicable as part of a 2009 police investigation into alleged abuse at fairview elementary school in espanola, New Mexico. He touched us like right here and all that and sometimes he stuck his hand deeper in and then I used to always wear my jacket and then I never wear skirts. I would wear pants because I was afraid. So when you say he stuck his hands right here, what does that mean, on your clothes or on your skin? On my skin. Reporter: She's pointing a finger at her fourth grade teacher Gary Gregor who now sits behind bars more than a decade after his students allege he committed sexual abuse. She says the memories of that school year still haunt her to this day. Makes me mad because he's standing next to so many children who are unaware of the person he is. Reporter: A person who had a trail of allegations of misconduct following him for years across two school districts from state to state, classroom to classroom. She says the class was different from the start Gregor showering girls with gifts. I remember getting a white t-shirt with purple flowers on it that said my name on it. I got a little notebook that was green, my favorite color. Reporter: Singling them out for special treatment. He would have us sit next to him in the classroom as we had elected officials, council members and I was always on that council. I felt like I had some kind of power in the class especially above the other students who didn't get elected. Reporter: In front of the classroom she became a target for abuse. I drew thoughts on the spots where we were touched and different colors are for different girls. It just felt strange to have to talk about it at such a young age when I wasn't even comfortable saying the words. He told you to go in the closet and then what? He said he wanted to kiss me. The thing that I remember the most was feeling the warmth of his breath next to my face on my ear where his lips touching mine. And it just didn't feel right. And I didn't want it and I wanted it to end but I was so afraid. Reporter: Her story is familiar, part of an explosive reality. The U.S. Department of education estimates that 4.5 million students experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of a school employee some time between kindergarten and 12th grade. Another government report found that in its study on average one child predator in schools had as many as 73 victims, sometimes without ever being caught. Serious loopholes in the state system make it easy for predators to evade detection. Reporter: School leaders continue to allow predatory teachers to move from one classroom to another. Passing the trash is how many refer to it. An easy way for administrators to unload problematic teachers on to other schools by hiding alleged misconduct through confidential agreements and other means sometimes even providing recommendations then looking the other way. They basically say, we'll grease the wheels so that you can go get a job somewhere else, as long as it's not here at our school. Reporter: Attorney Dave ring says he's litigated passing the trash cases for 21 years. Why do you think administrators allow these teachers to just move on? It's the easy way out. It's the quickest, most efficient solution to get rid of a dangerous teacher. Get him out of our school. Let someone else deal with him. Hold our breath. Reporter: Long before nigelli, Gregor taught fifth grade in Utah. In 1995, the state charging him with sexual abuse of a child. A district judge dismissed the charges citing insufficient proof and the state board of education issued Gregor a reprimand. He then turned up as a teacher in two other schools, in Montana and New Mexico before becoming a fourth grade teacher in Santa fe. There, during a field trip in 2004, museum staff reported seeing Gregor inappropriately touching student. The school investigated finding that Gregor hugged and tickled the girls saying I believe this is grooming behavior. He signed an agreement that he would resign and not apply for another position within that school district and in exchange he would receive a neutral recommendation enabling him to find his next job in espanola. Agreements like this, freeing teachers to move on to other classrooms, have been banned in only seven states across the country. Nigelli says she and three of her friends worked up the courage to report it to the principal only to get an unexpected reaction. Her response was that he was a good friend of hers. She knew that he wouldn't do that. Reporter: They placed the blame squarely on the girls and even going into the classroom to reprimand them. She told the class that we shouldn't be making false accusations because she was pretty much calling us liars. Reporter: After the public scolding, she kept quiet. I felt trapped. Who was going to believe me? Reporter: In a statement through her attorney, principal Montoya denied any wrongdoing saying that she investigated and took action regarding all alleged infractions and that the class was regularly monitored and a grandmother sat in on a good portion of his class. The state claimed there was never any report from nigelli made to Ms. Montoya. Eventually nigelli told her own parents who contacted police who conducted their own vestigation. The case languished for years. But New Mexico attorney general Hector valdarez has stepped in since "Nightline" first began reporting on nigelli's case. You said, we have a system right now that favors employment rights over student safety rights. Do you still believe that's the case? I absolutely believe that. The system right now is a playground for predators, and simply they have the wrong set of priorities. We've done a very poor job in proportionately responding to the sex abuse crisis that exists in public schools across this country. Reporter: Soon after our report first aired in April, he opened a grand jury investigation where nigelli testified once again sharing the sensitive details of the alleged misconduct. I know my story. Every time I have to tell it, it brings back emotions. Reporter: Gregor was convicted on sexual penetration of a minor, kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. Ensuring that Mr. Gregor has absolutely no contact with any minors. Reporter: ABC requested a statement from Gregor through his attorney, which he declined but he denies the allegations. Are you entering a plea of not guilty? We are, your honor. I got the chills. Feels nice to know that finally something's being done about what happened to us. Reporter: Ten years after those difficult days, nigelli says she's ready to face Gregor in court. He can't intimidate me the way he did when I was a little girl. Now I talk about it and he's there, I won't let him have any control over me. Reporter: If convicted on all charges, Gregor could face a maximum pen alt of 165 years in prison. Since his arrest, three more women have come forward with their own stories of sexual abuse by Gregor while they were still in elementary school including multiple counts of sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and one count each of sexual exploitable of children and kidnapping. You are going to trial. Reporter: ABC requested a comment from Gregor through his attorney about these charges, but he declined. Attorney general Valderas says this case is not over. His office will continue to examine the responsibility if any of school administrators where Gregor taught. For these predators to go from school district to school district is absolutely appalling. Reporter: Nigelli says she remains hopeful that justice will finally be served. He can't hurt anybody else by doing what he did to me and the other girls. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Amy robach. Our thanks to Amy robach and that trial is scheduled for January.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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