“It was at school”: the other details of the case of the teacher who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl

This sentence is considered a precedent for the 22 complaints of teachers who have sexually abused their students in Alta Verapaz, the department that has the second highest national rate of pregnancies in minors as a result of rape.

Armando Filiberto Vaidez Juárez was 53 years old when he abused * Eliza, 12, while he worked in the Departmental Directorate of Education of Alta Verapaz. In addition, says the victim’s lawyer, Vaidez was known in the community for being a career teacher, was a firefighter and participated in regional and departmental tables for the prevention of violence against children and teenage pregnancies.

The events took place between 2018 and 2019, the complaint was filed with the Public Ministry on April 21, 2020 and this September 14, 2021, the Criminal Sentencing Court for Femicide Crimes and other forms of Violence against Women of Cobán sentenced it to 27 years and 8 months of unchangeable prison.

Lilian Vásquez, the victim’s lawyer, explained that Vaidez was accused of three acts for the crime of rape and one for aggression with aggravation of the sentence, for which they asked for 66 years in prison. Although the Court validated that the defendant took advantage of his figure as a teacher to abuse the minor, it only credited an act of rape.

After the events, the minor and her mother were victims of threats for which they also requested restraining measures.

The trial

At the hearing that took place on Tuesday morning, defense attorney Karol Edith Monroy did not accredit the facts reported by the minor, arguing that “she could not give more comprehensive descriptions of the violation that occurred.”

The defender asked to know exact dates and said that the minor’s statement was “very vague” and blamed Eliza’s mother for continuing to send her daughter to spaces where she lived with the aggressor.

Given this, the Public Ministry added that the statement is “clinically consistent.”

“The defendant today is not the victim’s mother. The mother had no experience in identifying cases of sexual violence, she saw changes in her daughter but never thought that this could have happened, ”said Vásquez, who also claimed the use of prejudices and stereotypes by the defense when trying to detract from the statements of the minor.

Now, Eliza is 15 years old and, according to Vásquez, her behavior is not normal for a girl her age due to the traumas she suffered three years ago.

In addition to this sentence against El Profe, as Vaidez was known, there are three other cases that are in the final phase of the trial, awaiting a favorable resolution for the girls and adolescents.

In addition, the Human Rights Law Firm with a Feminist Approach to which Vásquez belongs, takes legal assistance to 12 other Mayan Q’eqchi ‘and Poqomchi girls.

Read also: The story of two of the 23 Guatemalan girls who seek justice after being abused by teachers in Alta Verapaz

“This sentence is important because the power of the professor who was convicted at this time and who had an important power in society had not been touched. This also marks a hopeful message for girls and adolescents who are experiencing some type of harassment and violence from the teachers ”, added Vásquez.

During the morning of this Tuesday, the Departmental Directorate of Alta Verapaz gave a press conference to publicize the ministerial agreement 12017-2021, which gives life to the regulations for the identification and resolution of cases derived from violence against children and adolescents within of the national educational system.

“The important thing about this ministerial agreement is that before at the national level, only in Alta Verapaz it should be followed up, which could really have a conviction, with this agreement that allows all the national directorates to carry out the same legal process to follow up at the national level. to all cases ”, indicated the departmental delegate.

Attorneys Lilian Vásquez (right) and Teresa Macario are part of the legal team that defended Eliza, the 12-year-old girl abused by a teacher. (Free Press Photo: Camila Juárez)

More cases nationwide

In the last five years, 977 teachers have been reported to the Public Ministry for sexual assault, rape and mistreatment of minors. The departments with the most cases are Guatemala (128), Alta Verapaz (95), Huehuetenango (80), Quetzaltenango (58) and San Marcos (57).

Read also: 977 teachers have been reported for sex crimes in the last five years

These departments are also on the list of regions with the highest number of pregnant minors resulting from rape.

Until July 2021, the Observatory of Sexual and Reproductive Health (OSAR) reported 65 thousand 373 pregnancies in girls and adolescents from 10 to 19 years old. Huehuetenango is the one who registers the most at the national level with 7,951 and Alta Verapaz follows with 7,379.

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