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A woman alleges in a lawsuit that a man who raped her in 2010 avoided prosecution for nearly a decade while evidence required to prosecute him remained untested by Albuquerque police.
During that time, her attacker has raped other women, according to a lawsuit filed in 2nd Judicial District Court.
Victor Gonzales, 44, was arrested in 2020 on charges of kidnapping and two counts of criminal sexual penetration in the Dec. 3, 2010, attack. He is scheduled for trial in June.
In her lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque, the unidentified woman alleges that a rape kit she provided in 2010 was among thousands that remained untested for years by the Albuquerque Police Department.
The kit was not tested until April 2018, eight years after the attack, the suit alleges. It provided DNA evidence that linked Gonzales to the attack, it said.
Gonzales’ attorneys, Raymond Maestas and Sean Beherec, said the woman’s account of the attack has changed since 2010.
“In this lawsuit, we see big differences in the accuser’s story from what she reported to police initially, and the jury needs to hear this change in story,” the attorneys said in a written statement.
The woman told police she was abducted, bound and raped at knifepoint in Northwest Albuquerque.
Her attorney, Laura Schauer Ives, said the victim plans to testify at Gonzales’ trial.
“It’s traumatic for her to relive this 12 years later,” Schauer Ives said in a phone interview. But she feels fortunate that the case will come to trial.
“Of the thousands of women whose rape kits sat untested, she is at least among the handful of women who have a hope of seeing justice.”
In 2016, New Mexico had more than 5,000 untested rape kits – the nation’s highest per capita backlog, the suit alleges. APD alone had about 4,000 untested kits dating to the 1980s, it said.
The suit alleges APD had a “policy and practice of treating violent rapes against women as lower-priority cases than other violent crimes” resulting in discrimination against women and girls. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins noted that Mayor Tim Keller signed an executive order in January 2018 ordering APD to create a plan for clearing the backlog of untested rape kits.
“Today, every kit submitted for testing has been returned to the crime lab and the police department” and prosecutors, Atkins said in a written statement.
Gonzales has been accused of multiple sexual attacks.
In 2012, Gonzales was indicted after allegedly kidnapping, torturing and raping a woman for two days before she escaped. Those charges were dismissed due to problems with video evidence in the case.
In 2013, Gonzales was indicted on multiple felony charges stemming from five attacks from 2010 to 2012. He pleaded no contest in 2014 to two counts of attempt to commit criminal sexual penetration, false imprisonment and battery and was sentenced to two years in prison. At the time of sentencing, Gonzales received two years credit for time served in jail awaiting trial and was released.