Acker affair finally over

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When Daniel Acker Jr. chose to plead guilty to eight counts of sexually abusing underage girls during his long career as an Alabaster teacher, he brought about some closure in a sordid series of crimes spanning more than two decades.

We’re glad that Acker chose to plead guilty and put an end to any possibility of a trial that would likely have taken even more of an emotional toll on Alabaster, the Shelby County educational community and the families of the victims.

Acker, 49, will serve at least 17 years in prison, and those families can know that the wheels of justice are turning and he will have to pay penance for his crimes.

One of those victims, Kristin Hurt, has been dealing with the emotional fallout from Acker’s crime against her for more than 20 years now.

Hurt — who was 11 in 1991, when Acker came to her home when her mother was not there and fondled her on the family couch — reported the incident to authorities shortly after it happened, but a grand jury didn’t bring any charges against Acker.

She and her family had to move away from Shelby County to escape the lingering effects of the incident. Hurt’s mother said Acker would actually show up at Hurt’s job, forcing her to continue reliving the abuse. We’re glad that after so many years of pain and fear, Hurt was finally able to see the man who admittedly abused her have to face his crime.

We applaud Hurt and Acker’s other victims who came forward. It’s not easy for anyone, much less young girls, to be selfless enough to see past the humiliation of others finding out about sexual abuse, especially at the hands of a man who was charged with educating and protecting children.

Although it took much too long for Acker’s victims to be believed, their bravery has finally been acknowledged.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.