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Did a Conservative Newspaper Help Pave the Way for a Serial Child Molester?

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Headlined to H3 1/17/12

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Someone needs to send an emergency medical team to The Birmingham News  building, home to one of the most lazy, corrupt, and conservative newspapers in the country. Several members of the editorial team apparently need irony transplants--stat!

First in line should be columnist John Archibald after he wrote a Sunday piece titled "Shelby County Shares in the Shame." Next should be editor Tom Scarritt, who presumably signs off on the pablum that Archibald produces.

With whom should Shelby County share in the shame? That apparently would be Jefferson County, home to Birmingham and the site of numerous financial  and legal woes over the past decade. In fact, Archibald has used truckloads of ink to chronicle alleged wrongdoing in Jefferson County, while ignoring rampant corruption that has been plainly visible in its sister county to the south.

In his Sunday column, Archibald dresses down Shelby County officials for failing to notice that they had a serial child molester in their midst. In fact, Archibald is downright apoplectic that no one in authority took action when allegations arose in 1991 against fourth-grade teacher Daniel M. Acker Jr. (Photo above) We recently learned, some 20 years later, that Acker has confessed to molesting at least 21 girls. He has been charged, so far, with four counts of sexual abuse and now resides in the Shelby County Jail.

Where were Acker's confessions in the early 1990s? They were nowhere to be found. He denied the charges then, and after an investigation, a grand jury refused to indict and the Shelby County Board of Education returned him to work.

Norma Rogers, the superintendent at the time, said the board voted over her objections to reinstate Acker. Why did that happen? Rogers says it was largely because "all of these church people" came to Acker's defense. It probably did not hurt that Acker's father, Daniel M. Acker Sr., is a long-time member of the Shelby County Commission.

So a guy with the right connections, in the white hierarchy that governs Alabama's most conservative county, gets off--and then proceeds to go on a molestation spree that lasts roughly two decades. John Archibald can't figure out how this happened?

I know how it happened. John Archibald, and the white conservative hierarchy that runs his newspaper, helped make it happen. I know how that works from first-hand experience, and I will explain in a moment.

But first, let's get a load of Archibald's outrage about the Daniel M. Acker Jr. case:

I mean, if Joe Paterno was guilty of failing to do enough to stop Penn State's style of abuse, throngs of people in Shelby County are every bit as culpable for failing to stop this.

The school board, principals and parents. Churches, pastors and congregations. They are guilty. As are all those people who knew nothing of the facts of Acker's case, but rallied in his name and bought flapjacks to help him pay his lawyers.

They share the shame. They share the blame.


Who else shares the shame and the blame? John Archibald himself--and his editors at Alabama's largest newspaper.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 
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