13 INVESTIGATES: Acker lawsuit update - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

13 INVESTIGATES: Acker lawsuit update

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BIRMINGHAM, AL -

For nearly two decades, Daniel Acker, Jr. victimized his own students.

Now attorneys for five of those victims want to expand their lawsuit against Acker and the School Board which allowed him to keep teaching after they were warned he was a risk to children.

Dan Arciniegas and his firm sued Acker and the Shelby County School Board in February.

Now they want a federal judge to grant the case 'class status' so they can include anyone else who was victimized by Acker or witnessed his abuse.

"Everybody that was in that classroom was affected some way.  And we need to hear from them as soon as possible to complete the picture," Arciniegas argued.

Back in 1991, student Kristen Lopez accused Acker of molesting her.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources put Acker's name in a state database, "To protect children whose health and welfare may be adversely affected by Mr. Acker's regular and substantial contact with children."

However, after the Shelby County Grand Jury refused to indict Acker, the School Board voted to allow Acker to keep his teaching job.

Then last year Acker pleaded guilty to sexually abusing not only Lopez, but a handful of other girls over the next two decades.

One reason Arciniegas believes there are more girls out there that Daniel Acker, Jr. victimized is because Acker said so himself.

On January 4, 2012, Acker gave a video-taped statement to Alabaster Police Investigator Grant Humphries.

According to court records, Acker confessed to touching nearly two dozen girls inappropriately.

The latest court filing in the lawsuit states that Acker told Investigator Humphries that, "During his time as a teacher in the Shelby County School System he had sexually molested over twenty female students by touching various body parts, including their buttocks for his own sexual gratification."

Arciniegas thinks the number of victims could be even higher.

Acker started teaching in Shelby County in 1985, retired in 2009 and then drove a school bus until his arrest last year.

"Over the twenty years he was in the classroom, it's almost two hundred females, as students alone.

And that's him having unsupervised access to those children as a teacher.  And that does not include the kids, the female students that were on his bus route," Arciniegas pointed out.

Since some victims may have moved on with their lives, Arciniegas admitted they might be reluctant join the case.

However, he claims if the case is granted 'class certification' additional plaintiffs could be kept out of the spotlight.

"It's time for the victims to step forward and tell their story.  And we're here to listen," Arciniegas concluded.

Too see a copy of the latest Class Certification Request or find out how to contact attorneys representing Acker's victims, click here

Acker is currently serving a 17 year sentence in the Bullock Correctional Facility southeast of Montgomery.

His scheduled release date is January 1, 2029.

Both Daniel Acker, Jr. and the Shelby County School Board have asked for a judge to dismiss the original lawsuit.

We reached out to attorneys for both Acker and the School Board for reaction to this latest filing.

There was no response.

They have until November 15th to file their official reply in court.

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