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Monday, January 9, 2012

A Culture of Republican Corruption Spawns a Serial Child Molester

Daniel M. Acker Jr.

The corrupt environment that has been at the heart of my reporting for four-plus years now has helped produce a serial child molester. That's how ugly things have gotten here in Shelby County, Alabama.

Daniel M. Acker Jr., a retired elementary-school teacher in Alabaster,  has been charged with four counts of sexual abuse and is being held in the Shelby County Jail. According to press reports, Acker has confessed to molesting more than 20 girls during his 25-year career.

From Don Siegelman to Paul Minor to Julian Assange, we have reported on legal cases with national and international implications. But this blog started largely because of a blatant cheat job my wife and I experienced from a lawsuit filed against me in a property-related matter by a criminally inclined neighbor named Mike McGarity. It all took place in the Shelby County Courthouse--in the judicial hellhole of Columbiana, Alabama--where pretty much all public officials are white, conservative, Republican, and (best I can tell) corrupt.

What does the Daniel Acker Jr. case have to do with the culture of corruption that I have witnessed first hand? It has everything to do with it. In fact, an environment of white/conservative privilege wound up "enabling" a guy who had shown signs of being a child molester for roughly two decades.

Acker Jr.'s father, Daniel M. Acker Sr., is a long-time member of the Shelby County Commission. I wrote just last week about the commission, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and their roles in a bogus warrant on drug charges that was issued against a black minister from Montevallo.

I was not surprised that Kenneth Earl Dukes was a victim of what amounts to racial profiling in Shelby County. And I'm not surprised that Daniel M. Acker Jr.'s unsavory activities were more or less covered up for about 20 years because he has strong ties to the county's white, conservative power structure.

In announcing last week's arrest, Alabaster Deputy Police Chief Curtis Rigney said an investigation had been conducted in 1992 on molestation allegations against Acker. That resulted in no criminal charges. Reports the Shelby County Reporter:

Rigney said a “similar investigation” was conducted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department in 1992, but no indictments were issued as a result.

In October 1992, Acker was placed on leave by the Shelby County School System and relieved of his teaching duties while allegations of child abuse were under investigation. In November 1992, the accusations against Acker were presented to a Shelby County grand jury, which did not indict him.

On Feb. 8, 1993 the Shelby County Board of Education held a termination hearing against Acker. After a lengthy hearing to consider the evidence in the case against Acker, the board voted unanimously not to terminate him. Acker was then reinstated as a fourth-grade teacher. 

So let's review how things are done in Shelby County, Alabama. A black man, who has done nothing wrong, has a bogus warrant issued against him for drug charges. A white man who decides to write a progressive blog after witnessing rampant official corruption has the full property rights to his house stolen. (For good measure, that white man--me--is unlawfully terminated from his job at a state university after bringing corruption to public attention.) Another white man, one with strong ties to Shelby County's white/conservative power structure, is investigated for child molestation and allowed to keep his job for another 20 years or so--before finally being arrested, after confessing to the abuse of at least 21 girls.

This subject obviously hits close to home, so allow me to repeat: I was fired at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) because I write a blog that has helped expose misconduct in the political prosecution of former Democratic governor Don Siegelman. Daniel M. Acker Jr. was investigated on child-molestation charges and then allowed to keep his job.

I was fired for doing absolutely nothing wrong under any law or any rule or provision of the university where I worked. Daniel M. Acker Jr. kept his job for roughly 20 years and was only terminated after confessing to the sexual abuse of more than 20 students who were under his care.

We both were state employees, working at public institutions in the education sector. Do you sense a double standard at work in Karl Rove's Alabama?

By the way, there is no doubt that I was fired at UAB because of my reporting--on my own time, with my own resources--about the Siegelman case. A university human-resources official named Anita Bonasera admitted that in a phone conversation I tape recorded after I had been placed on administrative leave. You can listen to it here:

Audio: UAB and the Cost of Blogging About the Siegelman Case

Acker Jr.'s arrest made the front page of last Friday's Birmingham News. The story is starting to show national and international legs, with reports in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post, and The Daily Mail of London

Will there still be an effort to give Acker Jr. gentle treatment for what appear to be a series of hideous crimes? I suspect the answer is yes. We certainly can expect to see an effort to limit the damage to Acker Jr. himself, with no inquiry into the official inaction that allowed him to operate as a predator for 20 years or more.

Barry Alvis
Barry Alvis, of the North Shelby County firm W. Barry Alvis &   Associates, is representing Acker Jr. Barry Alvis used to be a partner with Lindsey Allison in a firm that now is called Allison May &   Kimbrough. Lindsey Allison is chairperson of the Shelby County Commission, where she serves with Dan M. Acker Sr. You can see that the Shelby County power structure is incestuous to its core.

Barry Alvis now has a firm with his wife, Lara McCauley Alvis, who used to work in the Shelby County District Attorney's Office. In fact, my wife and I consulted with her (she was Lara McCauley then) before filing a criminal trespass complaint against Mike McGarity, the troublesome neighbor who had ignored repeated warnings to stay off our property.

Lara McCauley signed off on the complaint against McGarity, never bothering to tell us that Shelby County judges go easy on the accused when he is represented by a favored attorney, such as the wildly corrupt William E. Swatek. Ms. McCauley also never bothered to tell us that we could be vulnerable to a malicious prosecution lawsuit if McGarity was acquitted, even if he confessed to the crime.

And that is exactly what happened: McGarity confessed to criminal trespass (we have the trial transcript to prove it), was acquitted, and proceeded to sue me, the victim of his crime.

Lara McCauley Alvis played a prominent role in the cheat job I have experienced. Now she and her hubby, Barry Alvis, are representing a man who has confessed to molesting at least 21 girls. I've learned this about Shelby County Courts: Just because a defendant confesses to a crime, it does not mean he will be found guilty.

Daniel M. Acker Jr. could not have chosen a more "connected" criminal-defense law firm in Shelby County. Thanks to that firm's ties to Lindsey Allison and other power brokers, I strongly doubt that true justice ever will be served in a monstrous case of child sexual abuse.

Here's the big question hanging over the Acker case: True justice likely will come only in the civil arena. Will the victims and their families be able to find an Alabama lawyer who is willing to sue the Shelby County sleaze balls who allowed this to happen? If so, what will the discovery process reveal about the widespread official corruption that has a grip on this conservative, "family values" stronghold?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has any article mentioned what age these girls were? NOT TAKING UP FOR HIM. But in this day and time teenagers are not like we were as teenagers. They are having sex in grade school. When I was a senior in HS back in the early 70's we had a teacher (female)just out of college that was dating the captain of our football team. She was not married and they went on to marry after HS. She just graduated from college. It was known but he was from a very prominent family and it was overlooked by the school system. But if there were child molestations going on in the city I lived we knew nothing about it. I wonder why in these years there is so much of this. Do you think it is because of all the trash television, movies and all the trash they can look up on the Internet.You can see porno anytime you wish on your tv and I assume computer. I never have looked it up but I bet you could if you wanted to. I am a grown person and I NEVER have had the desire to have hardly anything to do with children period and molestation... IS THE FARTHEST THING FROM MY MIND. It absolutely sickens me to think that someone would do that. I do not like to even watch R movies. I do believe the generations after mine become slowly "watered" down in morals and parents are now the childrens friends instead of parents. When you as a young person can walk in and tell your parents you need birth control and they do not go ballistic like mine would have.. Something is not right. I believe it is only going to get worse.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon:

Perhaps someone else has additional information, but reports I've seen indicates the girls who have come forward so far were in the 11-13 range.

Redeye said...

o let's review how things are done in Shelby County, Alabama. A black man, who has done nothing wrong, has a bogus warrant issued against him for drug charges. A white man who decides to write a progressive blog after witnessing rampant official corruption has the full property rights to his house stolen. (For good measure, that white man--me--is unlawfully terminated from his job at a state university after bringing corruption to public attention.) Another white man, one with strong ties to Shelby County's white/conservative power structure, is investigated for child molestation and allowed to keep his job for another 20 years or so--before finally being arrested, after confessing to the abuse of at least 21 girls.


This sums it up.

legalschnauzer said...

Redeye:

Isn't it interesting that the Dubya admin thought we needed to transport our "democratic" values to places like Iraq and Afghanistan?

We might need to tend to our own garden before pointing to the weeds somewhere else.

Truthseeker said...

The parents at this school should refuse to let their daughters go to school until this guy is in jail. I would not let my child around him nor the schools who would employ him. Shelby County Schools are run by buffoons.

legalschnauzer said...

Truth:

He is in jail now, finally. He was investigated on molestation allegations 20 years ago and was cleared and put back on the job. Quite a few girls paid a high price for the decision.

James Greek said...

It took 20 years for Acker's sins to find him out. They finally did. Shelby County is crap. (no offense Roger) I will never live in Hellby County if I move to Bham.

Max Shelby said...

It didn't take twenty years James.
Plenty knew.
They just decided power, position and the facade of moral character meant more than protecting young girls from a monster did.
It's reprehensible what goes on in SC unabated and unchecked.

Acker's case needs to be moved out of the county because nepotism will ensure that the equally guilty by cover up culprtits will be protected from fallout.

legalschnauzer said...

Good points, Max. I will be interested to see if lawsuits are forthcoming and what direction they might take. Can only imagine how enraged some of these parents must be. And some of the girls from 20 years ago are now in their early to mid 30s. It's all very Sanduskyesque.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. Schnauzer:

I would be pissed off too.(20 more years to pick & choose his victims!!!)

When's this psychopath gonna be taken off the streets for the "protection of society" Obama DOJ?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/14/AR2007031400519_2.html

Redeye said...

"Isn't it interesting that the Dubya admin thought we needed to transport our "democratic" values to places like Iraq and Afghanistan?"

I never fell for the transporting FREE DUMB to Eye Rack and Afghanistan spin.

David said...

In 1992 the school debated for 8 hours before voting unanomusly to out the guy back in the class room. The current school boars chairman was on the board at the time as was another current board member. The chairman had two children in the school at time and one had been in class prior the thime he was accused.

Anonymous said...

Roger, Roger, Roger,
I may not always agree with you, but I have great respect for your fight to expose corruption. This is one time that I totally agree with you.
Let's not fret about Mr. Acker not having the right legal representation. Barry Alvis is the pervert lawyer for this heinous crime. I've had occasion to meet Alvis. He represented my opposition.
Sitting outside the courtroom in the Shelby County courthouse, this idiot(Alvis) was discussing his extramarital affair with another attorney. He was within earshot of me. I figure that he was so engaged in trying to impress his colleague, that he never paid attention to who was listening.
It takes the lowest of attorneys to represent child molesters. So, if any of you child molesters need a lawyer, Barry Alvis is your boy.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon:

I debated about whether to run your comment because you are pretty harsh on Mr. Alvis. But I assume Mr. Alvis is a big boy and knows how to handle himself. Plus, your comment made me chuckle. I assume Lara McCauley is not the first Mrs. Alvis?