SANTA FE - She was only 15. Her boyfriend, Vincent J. Montoya, was two years older.
By Montoya's account and that of his lawyers, he and the girl had been having sex long before a night of violence that led to his being charged with kidnapping and other crimes.
Tried as an adult, Montoya was acquitted by a Bernalillo County jury in 2010 of attempted criminal penetration of the girl. Jurors, though, convicted him of kidnapping her. He went to prison.
Now on parole, Montoya says New Mexico's rape-shield law for victims buried the truth by depriving him of his right to confront his accuser about her past. Montoya lost in the state Court of Appeals, but the New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to hear his case on May 15.
The implications are enormous. New Mexico has had a rape-shield law since 1975 that now is under attack.
Montoya is asking the Supreme Court to reverse his kidnapping conviction and give him a new trial, one where the girl now a woman of 21 would have to answer a cross-examiner's questions about her sexual history.
This story, unpublicized until now, says more about the world we live in than about the working of our courts.
For one, if there was any doubt about the challenges that schoolteachers face each day, Montoya's case erases them. Secondly, if anyone believed that parents always control kids, Montoya's court pleadings should disabuse them of that notion.
Montoya and his girlfriend were teenagers when the case began, but they were living dangerous lives.
The state attorney general's staff, in a brief to the Supreme Court, said the jury did not learn much about Montoya because the trial judge bottled up the sordid parts of his life.
At trial, prosecutors said, they could not mention evidence that Montoya was a gang member, that he bit the girl on her inner thigh or that he supposedly answered his door that night with a gun in his hand.
A state public defender said in her brief that Montoya committed lesser crimes but not kidnapping.
Montoya and the girl began the night with an argument. She was angry because another girl had called him.
Strangely enough, both sides agree on most of what happened.
Montoya pushed the girl into a bedroom of his grandmother's house, where he stayed and where his girlfriend had arrived to visit him. He pinned the girl on the bed. When she fought him and tried to call her mother on her cellphone, Montoya grabbed it and threw it to the floor. He broke the zipper on the girl's pants as he pressured her.
Montoya's defense is one sometimes used in allegations of acquaintance rape. He said he and the girl often had "makeup sex" after arguments.
But, his appeals lawyer said, the jury did not receive the full context of their relationship because the judge blocked that information from coming out.
"For all the jury knew, this was the first and only sexual encounter," the defense said in its brief. "In fact, however, the girl and Montoya had a long sexual history. ... Through no fault of her own, the girl did not tell the whole truth."
The trial judge, M. Monica Zamora, would not allow his lawyers to cross-examine the girl in a way that would elicit that history.
Prosecutors say Montoya could have gotten the truth to the jury anyway by taking the witness stand and testifying himself. His lawyers counter that he should not have had to forfeit his right to stay silent in order for jurors to understand the background.
The girl's stepfather said Montoya had a handgun when he answered the door that night. He was the only witness to make this claim. Still, prosecutors say it showed how horrific the crime was and that it could have been worse.
After the violence in the bedroom, the girl said Montoya pushed her over a living room table, causing her to fall and hurt her back and head.
The five justices of the state Supreme Court will decide how the rape shield law worked or perhaps how it failed. The rest of us will have to look for answers to other questions raised by the case.
Where were the parents and guardians in this mess? How did two young lives careen so wildly out of control? Most of all, how many more like them are in our midst, but not in our view?