A former Shelby County schoolteacher pleaded guilty today to sexually abusing multiple students during his career.
Daniel M. Acker, 49, was sentenced today to 17 years in prison with no possibilty of parole. He will have to register as a sex offender and will be electronically monitored for 10 years after his release.
Acker has admitted to inappropriately touching 20 students and has said he doesn't remember all of their names. Several of the victims and their family members were in court for the sentencing.
Acker is charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 and two counts of first degree sexual abuse. He was indicted in March 2012 on the eight sexual abuse charges. He is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail on a bond of $1,045,000.
In court today, Acker admitted to several specific instances of child sexual abuse as the prosecutor read out them out. He admitted to fondling an 11-year-old girl in his fourth grade classroom and fondling an 11-year-old girl at a 4H camp between January and May 2009. He also admitted to inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl while working as a bus driver for Shelby County between August 2008 and May 2009.
Acker also admitted today to inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl in 1991. The victim reported the instance to police 20 years ago, leading to an investigation in which Acker was never indicted. Today, Acker admitted that he lied when asked if he had touched the victim 1991. The victim, a woman now in her 30s named Kristin Hurt, came forward to police again in the most recent investigation and today was in court to see Acker sentenced.
"I'm glad for vindication. Not just vindication for me, not just for myself but for the other victims, the younger ones," Hurt said. "I feel like I stand up for all the other victims. I feel like I stand up for all of them because it wasn't just me, because if things would've gone better 20 years ago, none of them would've gone through this," she said.
Acker taught fourth grade for most of his 25-year teaching career. He taught at Thompson Elementary School from 1985 to 1991, at Creekview Elementary School from 1991 to 2000 and Thompson Intermediate School from 2000 to 2009. He retired from teaching in May 2009.
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