Daniel Acker Jr

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Daniel Montague Acker Jr (born April 9, 1962) is a former educator, coach and politician. representing District 4 from 1992 to 2016.

Acker is one of four children born to longtime educator and Shelby County Commissioner Daniel Acker Sr and his wife Judy. He attended Thompson High School where he participated in marching band and theater, graduating in 1980. He went on to the University of Montevallo and served as a youth minister and minister of music at Mayberry Baptist Church there. In 1981 and 1982 he worked as a counselor at the Alabama Baptist Boys Camp and before graduating worked as a student teacher at Elvin Hill Elementary School. He earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1984.

Acker taught at Thompson Elementary School from 1984 to 1991 and was then transferred to Creek View Elementary School, where he also drove a school bus. He also worked as a youth minister at Westwood Baptist Church.

In 1992 a fourth-grade student accused Acker of touching her inappropriately at her home across the street from his during the previous year. The Alabama Department of Human Resources investigated and determined that the accusation was credible, and added Acker to its list of sexual offenders. After receiving the DHR report in October 1992 and discussing the matter with the victim and her mother, then-superintendent Norma Rogers recommended that he be terminated. He was suspended with pay while the incident was investigated by police. The wider community rallied publicly to Acker's defense. When the case was brought to a grand jury, they declined to return an indictment.

In a February 1992 Shelby County School Board meeting which went on for eight hours as numerous character witnesses from Westwood Baptist spoke. One board member expressed their belief that Acker's accuser had fabricated her story. The board voted unanimously to reinstate him as a teacher at Creekview Elementary and did not adopt any special supervision or other precautions to monitor his interactions with children. Acker was subsequently elected "Teacher of the Year". In 2000 he was transferred to Thompson Intermediate School. He retired from the classroom in 2009 but continued to drive a school bus.

In January 2012 another victim accused Acker of molesting her when she was in his fourth-grade class. In March Acker confessed to Alabaster Police Department investigators that he had molested as many as 20 different girls while working for the school system, including the incident that was reported in 1992. A Shelby County grand jury indicted Acker on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and six counts of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 years old. Due to their relationships with Acker's family, all of Shelby County Circuit Court's judges recused themselves from hearing the case, which was assigned to St Clair County Circuit Court Judge James Hill Jr. Acker pleaded not guilty in April, but changed his plea to guilty in May. Hill sentenced him to six 17-year terms and two 10-year terms, all to be served concurrently. He would then be required to wear an electronic monitor for an additional 10 years and be registered as an adult sex offender.

In 2013 five victims' families sued the Shelby County Board of Education and Acker in federal court for damages under Title IX and other provisions. In a settlement approved by Judge Virginia Hopkins in 2017, Acker agreed to pay $1.5 million to the plaintiffs. The school system also entered into a settlement agreement, but the terms were not disclosed.