Sunday, November 18, 2018
Public safety

Bloomingdale video voyeur teacher: 353 new charges, $2 million bail

Investigators say they have uncovered an extensive amount of videos and images of under-age students secretly filmed while undressing by a Bloomingdale High School teacher who was arrested last month on a video voyeurism charge.

Mark Ackett, 50, who resigned as a fashion design teacher, now faces an additional 353 charges. He turned himself back into the county jail on Monday, where records show he is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Bloomingdale High teacher hid cameras in girls’ changing room, deputies say

He was first arrested on Sept. 11 — the same day a 17-year-old student in his class discovered two cell phones hidden in the classroom changing area where she and her classmates disrobed for fashion assignments.

When deputies questioned Ackett, they said he told them he started recording students in January 2017, when he was hired to teach fashion design and family consumer sciences. He also coached the girl’s volleyball team.

Now a forensic examination of Ackett’s cell phones, Google accounts and other digital devices have turned up an additional 267 videos and images of girls, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday.

The students range in ages from 14 to 18 and are in various stages of undress at the school, the Sheriff’s Office said. However, the agency did not say how may additional victims there are in this case.

As a result, Ackett now faces an additional 267 charges of video voyeurism, 73 counts of production of harmful material of a minor, and 13 counts of possession of child pornography, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Former students wonder if trusted Bloomingdale High teacher made secret videos of them too

Court records show that the student who found the camera on Sept. 11 told school staff she was dressed only in a bra and panties when she saw two separate boxes in the class changing room that had holes for the cell phones’ camera lens. At least one of the phones was actively recording the students when it was discovered, according to a search warrant.

Later that day, administrators at the school found three digital cameras and two storage cards in Ackett’s desk, along with multiple thumb drives throughout his classroom, records show.

It was unclear Monday if any of the new videos discovered in the case predate Ackett’s return to Bloomingdale High in 2017. Ackett’s history at the school goes back to 2006, when he was hired as an assistant principal there. He left in 2009, when he was promoted to an administration job as the district’s supervisor of attendance, according to his personnel file.

Ackett, who is married with two teenage boys, resigned after his arrest last month, ending a 27-year career with the district.

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200.

Contact Anastasia Dawson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.

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