A sex scandal involving child abuse has rocked an Alabama community as sex abuse cases continue to arise from once trusted institutions.
In recent months, sex abuse has come to light in the case of young children at schools and sports teams. Places like this are where parents send their children to have positive experiences and grow socially and mentally.
However, with cases like Penn State, Syracuse and New Jersey- a school volunteer videotaped boys showering- America is seeing that children's safety and innocence are under attack at our institutions.
Victims of sex abuse are more likely to have been abused by someone known to them. Unfortunately, it's no surprise when a story about a popular school teacher that abused kids for over 20 years in an Alabama suburb surfaces.
According to The Baptist Press, Daniel Montague Acker, 49, was arrested in Alabaster, Ala., on Jan. 4 and charged with three counts of first-degree child sex abuse. A fourth charge involving another victim was added on Jan. 6.
The charges are related to a 2009 incident, where Ackers allegedly molested a student in a Thompson Intermediate School fourth grade classroom.
Police say he admitted to molesting over 20 female students over a 25-year period at three different public schools, including Thompson Elementary School and Creek View Elementary School. Much like the Jerry Sandusky case, Acker was suspected of sex abuse years ago and still allowed to be around children.
According to The Shelby County Reporter, Acker was accused of sexual abuse in 1992, when he was youth's pastor at Alabaster's Westwood Baptist Church. Rick Swing, executive pastor of the Westwood Baptist Church, said that steps have been taken since 1992 to ensure the safety of children.
Members of the Alabaster community reportedly supported Ackers in 1992, holding fundraisers in his name. They now apologize to his victims and their families and say they will pray for Acker.
Brian Erickson, pastor of Alabaster First United Methodist Church, said that members of his congregation supported Acker during the 1992 investigation.
"Tonight I have talked to several folks in our church family who are feeling betrayed, having stood up for someone who turned out not to be who they thought he was," Erisckson said, according to The Shelby County Reporter.
Erickson wrote a letter to his congregation saying that he grieves because someone in a position to nurture children used their authority to harm them.
"Predators leave a seemingly endless trail of mistrust and suspicion in their wake," Erickson said.