(CB/AP) ALABASTER, Ala. - A former Teacher of the Year at an Alabama elementary school admitted to molesting over 21 girls during his 25-year career, police said on Thursday.
Alabaster police said Daniel Montague Acker Jr., 49, was jailed after a girl, now 12 or 13, came forward within the last week claiming the ex-educator molested her around 2009 when he was a teacher at the Thompson Intermediate School.
Confronted by police, Acker admitted molesting the girl. He also told investigators he had abused more than 20 other girls but did not name any alleged victims, Deputy Chief Curtis Rigney said. Acker is no longer cooperating with investigators, he said.
Investigators say they believe most if not all of the girls were in Acker's classes.
Acker was charged with three counts of sexual abuse, and additional charges were possible, police said.
"This is not a one-time event," said 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.
After the October 1992 investigation, Acker was reinstated as a fourth-grade teacher at Creek View Elementary, where he worked before moving to Thompson Intermediate, Shelby County schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner said.
According to Alabama news source al.com, Acker was named Teacher of the Year at Creek View Elementary, even as he faced possible termination over the abuse accusation.
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.
Acker was being held in the Shelby County jail with bond set at $225,000.