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Ala. teacher arrested on sex abuse charges

ALABASTER, Ala. - An Alabama schoolteacher was jailed on charges of sexually abusing a fourth-grade female student, and police said yesterday that the man told them he molested more than 20 other girls over his 25-year career.

Alabaster police said Daniel Montague Acker Jr., 49, was charged with three counts of sexual abuse, and additional charges were possible.

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“This is not a one-time event,’’ said Deputy Chief Curtis Rigney. “This happened over a period of 25 years.’’

Acker taught fourth grade at three schools and drove buses in the Shelby County school system from 1985 until he retired in 2009. He was investigated on similar allegations in 1992, but grand jurors did not return an indictment, said Rigney.

Acker’s father, Dan M. Acker, is a longtime commissioner in Shelby County, just south of Birmingham, but Rigney said there was no indication his father’s position helped the teacher avoid charges earlier.

A girl who is now 12 or 13 came forward within the last week claiming Acker molested her around 2009, when he was a teacher at Thompson Intermediate School, Rigney said. He would not say what drove the girl to go to police.

Investigators believe most if not all of the girls were in Acker’s classes, Rigney said. But police are trying to see if some of the girls were students in other teachers’ classrooms.

Acker was being held in the Shelby County jail with bond set at $225,000. A jail mug shot showed him wearing a vest meant to prevent prisoner suicides.

Acker remained on the school payroll as a substitute bus driver until this week.

In a statement, Superintendent Randy Fuller said the district was cooperating with police and would no longer use Acker as a substitute bus driver or in any other capacity.

“We can only say that the allegations are shocking,’’ Fuller said. “We, as a school district, understand that child abuse is horrible with devastating consequences to victims and their families.’’

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