Acker pleads not guilty to sexual abuse charges

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The trial of a longtime Alabaster teacher who has been indicted on several counts of sexual abuse is scheduled to begin on Aug. 13 after he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Daniel Acker Jr.

Daniel Acker Jr. has been indicted on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and six counts of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 years old. Police previously said Acker has allegedly confessed to molesting more than 20 girls during his 25-year teaching tenure in Alabaster.

According to court documents filed by St. Clair County Presiding Circuit Court Judge James Hill, Acker recently submitted a written notice pleading not guilty to the eight charges.

Hill was appointed to handle Acker’s case in the Shelby County Circuit Court after all of Shelby County’s circuit and district court judges recused themselves from the case. St. Clair County District Court Judge Alan Furr is handling the initial stages of Acker’s case, but Hill will handle Acker’s trial.

Pell City District Attorney Richard Minor has also been appointed to prosecute the case, after Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens asked to be recused from prosecuting Acker.

According to Shelby County Circuit Court Supervisor Jill Smitherman, Hill set Acker’s trial for Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. Although Acker originally was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 2, he waived his right to the preliminary hearing, according to court documents.