Lawyers for Robert Apodaca Survivor Demand Answers From Schools That Employed Him
LAWYERS FOR APODACA SURVIVOR DEMAND ANSWERS
Lawyers Representing Robert Apodaca Abuse Survivor Investigate Role of
Santa Fe Public Schools, Santo Nino Catholic School, the Catholic Church, and Others in Apodaca’s Prolific Abuse of Santa Fe Children
Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 2021 - The law firms of Lane + Linnenburger + Lane LLP and The King Law Firm ask questions for the survivors of Robert Apodaca’s sexual abuse, one of whom they represent in connection with possible claims against Robert Apodaca, as well as the entities associated with Apodaca’s apparent years-long predatory sexual abuse of children in the Santa Fe Public School system and at Santo Nino Regional Catholic School.
Maggie Lane, a partner with Lane + Linnenburger + Lane, has litigated similar sex abuse claims against Santa Fe Public Schools and other school districts throughout New Mexico. “All of the red flags I have seen in other cases are present here,” Lane said. ”Apodaca appears to have worked for many schools within the district, never for long, and eventually left to work in a new district. The seemingly constant movement may have been due to the district’s knowledge of Apodaca’s predatory behavior. This predictably served to provide shelter for future predatory behavior in different schools, and, ultimately, in a different school district. In other words, we may have yet another case of a New Mexico school district ‘passing the trash’—where it allows a problem employee to relocate to a different school district without ever taking appropriate action against the employee, reporting known or suspected abuse to law enforcement, or otherwise providing the new district with information concerning the employee’s predatory history.”
Lane’s partner, Paul Linnenburger, who has worked extensively with survivors of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, says the handling of accused priests by the Catholic Church in the past is similar to the constant movement of Apodaca between schools. “It is hard to envision a scenario where public and private school leadership could have done more to expand an alleged predator’s access to more and more children, making it easier and easier for others to be victimized,” he said.
The team is using this opportunity to once again push for Santa Fe Public Schools and Santo Nino Regional Catholic School to make necessary changes. Ian King of The King Law Firm, a former violent crimes prosecutor, says that is why the team is adamant about holding the institutions that failed these children accountable, not just the individual perpetrator. “As a former prosecutor, I know that the criminal justice system can bring accountability to individual perpetrators, but it does not force institutions to make changes to protect kids.” King said. “Perpetrators like this operate in a system, and when institutions like schools drop the ball and allow them to continue, innocent children suffer the consequences.” Linnenburger drew parallels to recent larger sex abuse scandals, saying “I’ve represented survivors abused by the Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders, and in those cases, and with USA Gymnastics for that matter, we see that institutional change to prioritize the protection of children only follows legal action by survivors. The same is true for our local school districts because this situation is unfortunately just a record on repeat.”
The team says that based on their experience in prior cases, there are likely more victims who will come forward with similar accounts. This saddens Lane. “I have represented too many children who have been abused by educators, and, more often than not, once one or two victims come forward, there are many more to come. Given Apodaca’s access to hundreds of potential victims within the many schools where he worked, and potentially though other youth programs we are looking into, it is truly terrifying to think of how many victims may still be out there, who have not yet found the strength to come forward. But they should know they are far from alone.”
Linnenburger shares Lane’s concern, but sees hope for the future. “The sooner a survivor reaches out for help, the sooner the healing process can begin.” Linnenburger pointed out that, in his experience, survivors of childhood sexual abuse can find healing through the legal process. ”Survivors can use the law to take back what was stolen from them – their power. It is a way to stand up to the people and institutions that let this to happen in a way that truly is life-altering. Often, they discover strength they never knew they had, and that radiates into the community and gives strength to others struggling themselves.”
The team asks that anyone with information contact them or law enforcement. According to Linnenburger, “[n]o one should be satisfied with the answers, or non-answers really, that Santa Fe Public Schools and Santo Nino have offered thus far. When we are talking about our children who cannot protect themselves, the failure to act sooner is never acceptable.” King agrees and is adamant about getting answers. He urges anyone with information about this tragic situation or any other situation involving suspected predatory or grooming behavior toward children in an educational or any other setting to “speak up and reach out. Your information may be the tipping point that saves another child.”