Montgomery school bus driver arrested on child-porn charges

A Montgomery County school bus driver in the Poolesville area was dismissed last month after he was arrested on ­charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.

County police said Charles H. Acker IV, 33, was arrested Feb. 10 after authorities linked him to an IP address that had downloaded videos of “prepubsescent children either engaged in sexual conduct or in a state of sexual excitement,” according to court records.

Acker’s attorney, Richard Arnold, said his client is innocent. Arnold added that there is no connection between the charges and Acker’s occupation as a school bus driver.

“He has never been accused of illegally touching any child, whatsoever,” Arnold said.

Acker’s employment with the school system ended within days of his arrest. The dismissal followed standard procedures, said schools spokesman Dana Tofig. When an employee is arrested, the system conducts its own investigation and evaluates whether any action needs to be taken.

In this case, school officials decided against sending notes to parents alerting them about Acker’s arrest because none of the videos involved local students.

For five years, Acker shuttled students between bus stops and school, most recently working the bus route at Poolesville High School.

Stephanie Egly, head of the Poolesville parents association, said she appreciated the school system’s swift action.

The arrest came a year after an undercover investigation found that files identified as child pornography were downloaded from a file-sharing network to a house in Germantown, records show.

The IP address was registered to a house in the 11000 block of Grassy Knoll Terrace, where Acker lived in the basement. Police searched Acker’s computer in April, identifying 13 files that were uploaded Feb. 9, 2010 — the day investigators tracked the IP address.

Investigators say they also uncovered an additional 75 videos and 10 images of child pornography.

Robert Samuels writes for the Post’s social issues team. In Maryland, he focuses on issues affecting low-income children and families. He also covers life in the District.
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