102nd District – (ECWd)
Once again we must look to official records to inform the voters of inconsistencies and misleading information made by those running for office. In this case, Jim Acklin, former St. Joe-Ogden School superintendent. A recent video released by Liberty Principles PAC exposed serious concerns regarding sexual abuse by a former SJO teacher that actually was convicted and is now a registered sex offender.
For clarity, watching the video released on the matter below, then reading and watching Acklins responses, followed with reading the court documents you can come up with your own determination regarding what appears to be very clear troubling issues with this candidate and his claims.
What Acklin called facts, as exposed in this recent article, simply are not facts.
A written response to the above video hit the wires in less than 12 hours. Below is our Fact Check of Acklin’s claims to include direct links to documents supporting our reporting.
Acklin – claimed fact: “Jim Acklin’s Record of Keeping Students Safe -ST. JOSEPH— Upon release of a low rate smear of longtime school administrator, coach, and teacher Jim Acklin, it is important to set the record straight about lies being told by the desperate and despicable Halbrook campaign.”
Fact – Halbrook campaign had nothing to do with the video exposing matters of serious importance to the voters. Acklin lied in his so-called “Fact Check” and we first exposed that in this article. If Acklin is willing to lie about a political ad’s origination, can you trust him to not lie about other matters?
Acklin – claimed fact: “As soon as Jon Jamison was accused of wrongdoing, he was removed from the classroom. “(Jamison) was placed on administrative leave…(and) was sent home that day.” “The first priority here at St. Joseph-Ogden High School has always been and will always be the safety of our students,” said Acklin, who said he was first made aware of the allegations late Monday afternoon. -News-Gazette, 2/8/2012″
Fact: There is so much evidence that proves his statement to be untruthful, it is concerning. Facts prove he was accused of wrongdoing in 2008. In fact, as outlined below in more detail, the sexual abuser was told future similar activity would lead to dismissal.
Did he forget what really happened, or simply mislead the public? You can read ALL the records of the court case at these links, here, here, here, here, here, here, here (disturbing reading), here, and here to get a better grasp of the whole story. We will highlight some bullet points from those documents to make our point.
From Page 8 of the complaint – On February 6, 2008, Brooks and Acklin met with Jamison concerning the allegations of Jamison’s conduct with JANE DOE-1. During that meeting, Brooks and Acklin:
a. instructed Jamison to remove all students from his MySpace page;
b. instructed Jamison not to allow any more students access to his
c. informed Jamison that his conduct was not in his best interest;
d. informed Jamison that “if anything else came up regarding this
circumstance or similar to these issues,” he would be dismissed.
So the records show he in fact knew of inappropriate behavior in 2008. Inappropriate because he gave specific corrective measures and warnings to the now convicted sexual abuser.
He acknowledges the actions of the accused coach were “not in his best interest”. Interesting he took that position instead of citing what was in the best interest of a child. Considering he also acknowledges any other circumstance or similar issues would lead to his dismissal, one could argue Acklin gave him a chance to stop his improper behavior. It appears that decision was wrong, as a child ended up getting sexually abused.
Acklin – claimed fact: “Acklin was never accused of any failure to report Jamison’s activity.”
Fact: Page 8 of the complaint reports – “Uphoff, Brooks, and Acklin failed to further investigate complaints against Jamison for sexual harassment and/or sexual grooming and/or sexual abuse of his female students and failed to make mandated reports.“
So you see, he was in fact accused of failure to report Jamison’s Activity. His statement to the contrary is simply a lie and the court record proves it!
In fact, on page 28 he was accused of failing to report not once but twice. (See Page 28 of the court record)
James Acklin WAS accused of not reporting Jamison’s activity!
Acklin- claimed fact: “There is precedence for criminal charges being filed against school administrators who do not report allegations of sexual abuse to DCFS. “Former Urbana school Superintendent Gene Amberg…(is) charged with one count of failing to make a mandated report.” -News-Gazette, 8/22/2008 Jim Acklin never faced charges.”
Fact: There is precedence for criminal charges being filed. Considering the record reports multiple failures to report by several people, Acklin included, we can only wonder why no one was charged with failure to report. It’s clear from the record, they knew a problem existed and even warned the now convicted sexual abuser to not allow any more similar acts to take place and that if he did, he would be dismissed. Was this a case that if they charged one they would have to charge two others, thus stripping the school of its Superintendent & Principal? Sadly we will never know, but at least now you have records you can read for yourself to better decide what to believe.
Acklin – claimed fact: “Acklin was never found liable for any civil wrongdoing. Jim Acklin was fully released of any “derivative claims associated with the alleged acts of Jon Jamison” and continued to deny any misconduct. The suit was settled for $6,500, a level many experts consider a “nuisance” suit.”
Fact: That is correct. A settlement offer was agreed to and an interesting part of that settlement needs to be known. “Plaintiff also further acknowledges and agrees that settlement is made to avoid the expense in time and money of’ further litigation and for the purpose of judicial economy.”
Was this a case where a sexually abused child who finally saw her abuser convicted simply could no longer afford the costs of pursuing further civil action and just wanted to get on with her life? The language of the offer seems to indicate as much. The fact that no court ever found Acklin liable does not mean he did nothing wrong.
Acklin statement: “Within minutes of being informed by the sheriff’s office of the pending arrest, (which was February 7, 2012), I called the teacher into my office, I suspended him, I banned him from school property, and I took immediate steps to ensure he would never teach again, not only at SJO, but anywhere, ever.”
Fact: In 2008, 4 years prior, records reflect Acklin outlining this same teacher’s conduct was not in his best interest and further similar activities would lead to his dismissal. Sadly, by not taking steps in the best interest of the child, a child was sexually abused.
Citing action taken after the police notify you of an impending arrest is hardly a sign of leadership in most people’s opinion.
From the record: “Board -Policy 5 90 refers to St Joseph-Ogden District’s written policy written policy 5 90 entitled Abused and neglected Child reporting, which prior to December 19, 201, stated in relevant part “Any District employee who suspects or receives knowledge that a student may be an abused or neglected child shall immediately report such a case to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services“. (See page 7 of court records – pages 8-13 MOST disturbing)
Reading of the records it sure appears their own policy was not followed.
We urge the voters to take the time and read ALL the records on this matter and educate themselves on all the information pertaining to this horrific event that impacted a young girl and other’s lives.
An informed electorate is the only solution to fixing the laundry list of problems we face with our local government. Again, we urge you to review all of the information and make an informed decision when you cast your ballot in the upcoming election.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.