Former Aztec High School teacher accused of manipulating student into sexual relationship

The defendant is being held in an Albuquerque detention facility

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Elizabeth Vigil, 32, is accused of 23 felony charges which include 12 felony counts of criminal sexual contact, eight felony counts of criminal sexual penetration and three felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Vigil was accused by a former female student of multiple acts of sexual assault and sexual abuse between April and December 2017, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
  • Vigil is the third Aztec High School teacher to be accused of child sex abuse charges in recent history.

FARMINGTON — A former Aztec High School teacher facing 23 felony charges is accused of emotionally manipulating a female student into a sexual relationship, according to court documents filed in the case.

Elizabeth Vigil is the third Aztec High School teacher to be accused of felony sex crimes recently, and the new case represents the fourth set of accusations since 2016 against an AHS teacher, according to The Daily Times archives. 

Charges were dropped against one accused teacher in 2016, and no criminal charges were pursued in another case.

Vigil, 32, is accused of 12 felony counts of criminal sexual contact, eight felony counts of criminal sexual penetration and three felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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The defendant did not have legal representation on the morning of July 28.

She was arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse on July 27 in Albuquerque with the assistance of federal authorities.

The defendant was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque on the morning of July 28.

Aztec police investigated

Vigil was accused by a former female student of multiple acts of sexual assault and sexual abuse between April and December 2017, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Aztec Superintendent Kevin Summers said in a statement the Aztec Municipal School District is unable to directly comment on the case.

“As an organization, (Aztec Municipal Schools) first priority is the safety of our students and community,” Summers said in a statement. “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."

The eight-page arrest warrant affidavit details the investigation by the Aztec Police Department.

It started on April 5 when the agency received a report, wherein an anonymous therapist said a female client disclosed she had a “physical relationship” with Vigil, who went by Elizabeth Kaul in 2017, the affidavit states.

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Elizabeth Vigil

The student involved in the investigation was not identified in the court documents filed. An April interview was organized by investigators with the teen and a parent.

The teen told investigators the incidents occurred on Aztec High School grounds and at a park within San Juan County, according to the affidavit.

Vigil is accused of messaging the teen back and forth using an Instagram account during this time, court documents state.

At one point, the parents of the teen found text messages between the two parties and described them as “flirtatious” in nature but not “sexual in nature,” according to the affidavit.

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The student was removed from Vigil’s class at the time, but the alleged incidents continued, court documents state.

The teen told investigators that, as time went on, she felt Vigil was lying to her, manipulating her and emotionally blackmailing her to stay together, the affidavit states. The student also said she suffered five “breakdowns” during this time, according to court documents.

Aztec police visited Vigil in Albuquerque on May 17, and they said she declined all offers for an interview.

The court documents charging Vigil were filed on July 26.

Three teachers accused, one cleared

Vigil is the third Aztec High School teacher to be accused of child sex abuse charges in recent history and the second to be arrested.

James Coulter pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal sexual contact on Dec. 13, 2019 and was sentenced to time served at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center. The conviction stemmed from sexual abuse with a female student in 2015.

Jamie Lattin, the mother of the teenage girl killed in the 2017 Aztec High School shooting, also accused Coulter of sexually abusing her daughter, Casey Marquez, in a civil lawsuit filed against the Aztec school district in Sept. 23, 2019, according to The Daily Times archives.

The New Mexico Public Education Department tried to revoke former Aztec Superintendent Kirk Carpenter’s educator licenses, accusing him of failing to report inappropriate contact between Marquez and Coulter.

Carpenter appealed the case, and it was dismissed in April 2019 by the state education department.

A former Aztec High School drama teacher was charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual contact in June 2016. Those charges were dismissed fairly quickly by a magistrate court judge on Sept. 1, 2016.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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