Acker’s alleged victim speaks out

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A former Thompson Elementary School student who said her fourth-grade teacher, Daniel Acker Jr., molested her at home and in a TES classroom more than 20 years ago said she was “shocked, happy and sad all at the same time” after hearing about Acker’s Jan. 4 arrest.

The former student, who asked her name not be released, issued a statement to the media Jan. 11.

Acker was arrested by the Alabaster Police Department Jan. 4 and charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse after police said he admitted to molesting more than 20 students during his 25-year teaching career in Alabaster.

Two days after the first three charges were filed, police charged Acker with a fourth count of sexual abuse. Rigney said the former TES student who issued the Jan. 11 media statement was tied to Acker’s fourth sexual abuse charge.

The former student alleged Acker “touched (her) inappropriately in the classroom on numerous occasions” while she was a student in Acker’s fourth-grade class during the 1989-1990 school year. The former student, who was 11 years old at the time, also alleged Acker, who was a neighbor at the time, molested her in her home while her mother was away.

“I was scared and hurt because I trusted this man. I was always taught to trust and respect your teachers,” the former student wrote in the release. “I told my mother what he had done to me, and she contacted the authorities. I told a DHR worker what he did to me. For more than a year I was ridiculed and bullied by fellow students and even some parents.”

According to Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner, a Shelby County grand jury did not indict Acker after the allegations were surfaced, and the Shelby County School Board voted unanimously not to terminate Acker in 1993.

The former TES student alleged she and her family were “treated badly” after Acker was reinstated, and wrote they moved out of the county to go to a different school. In the release, the former student wrote she is still affected by the alleged crimes.

“I always wanted to be married and have a family, but the thought of having a little girl and this happening to her scared me to death,” she wrote.

The former student wrote she was contacted by the Alabaster Police Department during the first week of January 2012, and was “shocked” to learn about Acker’s arrest a few days later.

“I was sad because if things had gone differently 20 years ago, this may not have happened to anyone else,” she wrote. “I’m happy because I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore.

The former student also thanked the Alabaster Police Department and encouraged “anyone who can help with this investigation” to contact the department at 663-7401.

As of Jan. 11, a message left with Acker’s attorney, Barry Alvis, had not been returned.