Tuesday, October 26, 1999

Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman - Sentenced for exposure - Port Huron

Also See:

Port Huron Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman - charged for sexual assaults [April 07, 1999]

Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman - Trial for CSC [October 06, 1999]

Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman - Sentenced for exposure [October 26, 1999]

Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman: Re-Trial [May 02, 2000]

Port Huron Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman sentenced for CSC [June 16, 2000]

         

2nd trial scheduled for ex-Michigan mayor
The Blade
Toledo, Ohio
October 30, 1999

Port Huron, Mich. - A former mayor will be tried again in February on at least some of the felony counts that jurors could not reach verdicts on as they convicted him of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

The second trial of Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman is to begin Feb. 23, St. Clair County Circuit Court officials said yesterday.

Ackerman was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail after jurors convicted him of nine counts of indecent exposure. Jurors couldn't reach verdicts on eight counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, six counts of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of felony child sexually abusive activity.
 













Fall from grace
Former mayor convicted of exposure
The Free Lance-Star
Fredericksburg, VA
Joseph Altman Jr.
Associated Press
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich [AP] - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted yesterday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on the nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified they were together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.

Ackerman testified that he did nothing sexaully inappropriate to any of his under age accusers. He acknowledge two affairs with teen-agers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidently.

Ackerman, who once sported a ponytail, leather clothes and tattoos, was named Michigan Public Citizen of the Year in 1994. He was elected mayor of Port Huon three years later and resigned in April, one day after charges were filed.

Before he was escorted from court in handcuff Monday, Ackerman told the judge: "I'm willing to accept my convictions ... I spent 12 years in this community doing everything I could to contribute. I've helped numerous children in this community over a number of years."

Prosecutor Peter George said he expects to retry Ackerman on the 16 other charges.
 
 
 











Ex-mayor convicted on sex charges
The Tuscaloosa News
Joseph Altman Jr.
Associated Press
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich [AP] - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted Tuesday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on the nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified they were together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.

Ackerman testified that he did nothing sexaully inappropriate to any of his under age accusers. He acknowledge two affairs with teen-agers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidently.

Ackerman, who once sported a ponytail, leather clothes and tattoos, was named Michigan Public Citizen of the Year in 1994.

He was elected mayor of Port Huon three years later and resigned in April, one day after charges were filed.

Before he was escorted from court in handcuff Monday, Ackerman told the judge: "I'm willing to accept my convictions ... I spent 12 years in this community doing everything I could to contribute. I've helped numerous children in this community over a number of years."

Prosecutor Peter George said he expects to retry Ackerman on the 16 other charges.
 
 











Former mayor faces charges
The Mount Airy News
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich [AP] - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted Tuesday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on the nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified they were together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.

Ackerman testified that he did nothing sexaully inappropriate to any of his under age accusers. He acknowledge two affairs with teen-agers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidently.

Ackerman was named Michigan Public Citizen of the Year in 1994.

 
 
 











Ex-mayor convicted of indecent exposure
Sun Journal
Lewiston, Maine
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich [AP] - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted Tuesday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on the nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified they were together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.

Ackerman testified that he did nothing sexaully inappropriate to any of his under age accusers. He acknowledge two affairs with teen-agers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidently.
 
 











Michigan
Former mayor gets prison
The Gadsen Times
October 27, 1999
Port Huron - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted Tuesday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on the nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified they were together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.
 
 












Former mayor gets 9 months for exposing self
Spartanburg Herald-Journal
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich. - Port Huron's tattooed, motorcycle-riding former mayor, once hailed as a role model for overcoming drugs and alcohol, was convicted Tuesday of exposing himself to nine underage girls.

Judge Peter Deegan immediately sentenced Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, 42, to a year in prison on nine counts of indecent exposure.

The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct.

"This conviction on these counts has nothing to do, Mr. Ackerman, with what you've done for this community. ...You could have won the Nobel Prize for Peace and if you would have acted this way this sentence would be the same," Deegan said.

The allegations, involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance, three girls - 9, 11, and 13 - testified that theywere together when Ackerman told them to take off their clothes and then performed oral sex on them.

Ackerman testified that he did nothing sexually inappropriate to any of this underage accusers. He acknowledged two affairs with teen-agers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidently.
 
 











Ex-mayor convicted of indecent exposure
The Vindicator
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich. [AP] - Two years ago, Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman was elected mayor of conservative Port Huron. On Tuesday, the city was left divided after the former mayor - a ponytailed biker who was accepted and embraced - was sentenced to a year in jail on nine counts of exposing himself to underage girls. The jury couldn't reach verdicts on 16 other counts of sexual misconduct. Ackerman, 42, testified that he did nothing sexually inappropriate to any of his accusers. He acknowledged two affairs with teenagers - who were not among his accusers - and said there was a possibility that four girls could have seen him exposed accidentally.
 











Port Huron reacts to verdict in sex trial
The Argus-Press
Owosso, Michigan
October 27, 1999

Port Huron, Mich. [AP] - Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman was no ordinary politician when he entered the political arena in this conservative voting town.

"Here's a guy who's trying to make a positive impact on this community with unconventional looks but pretty conservative in what he thought," said Steven G. Miller, the city's current mayor.

"To the community's credit, here was a biker with substance abuse problems at one point and they opened up their arms and accepted him."

Ackerman was an alternative-looking, leather-clad biker with a long, bushy bear and a squiggly ponytail, but his former colleagues say the city embraced him. He received the most votes in the November 1997 City Council election, giving him the ceremonial role of mayor, and people rallied around his efforts to get more residents involved in local government.

"To me it was like the Cinderella story that has kind of gone bad," Miller said.

When allegations of sexual misconduct arose in April, many people gave Ackerman a second chance - this time hoping they were wrong about his criminal charges.

"He had a lot of people believe and support him," said Councilwoman Anita R. Ashford. "When it first came out you had a lot of people in disbelief. It does leave a bad taste, but I don't think it divided us...

"I was hurt for one reason only, because we gave him a chance and he was guilty," she said.

Ackerman was convicted Tuesday of nine inecent exposure charges. Jurors couldn't reach verdicts on 16 felony sexual misconduct charges. The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15.

Ackerman served an internship in the prosecutor's office that argued to convict him, Miller said. As mayor, Ackerman was involved in issues such as water quality, serving on a task force with the mayors of Detroit, Windsor, Ontario, and Sarnia Ontario.

He was hailed for taking strides to make government more inclusive.

"He opened up the government process, so more people would have a say," Miller said. "He brought in fresh blood and fresh people."

Miller said he never expected such allegations against Ackerman and most people reserved judgement after Ackerman was charged.

"Each person has to make their own judgment on how this affects the community," Miller said. "Who can make sense of what happened? It caught everybody by surprise."

Next week, voters will select a new City Council, giving the city what Miller called "a fresh start".

Tuesday's verdict, while not the highlight of every conversation in town, was on people's minds.

"I think it's a shame," said Ron Moesher, 51. "I feel bad for the girls. I sure hope they retry him and come in with a better case that gets a conviction."

Rachel Evans, 24, heard the verdict read in the courtroom and said she feared conflicting testimony from some of the alleged victims made jurors unsure.

"It's going to be confusing to adults, let alone children. Little kids are not going to make up these kinds of stories," she said.

Jerry Gardiner, 42, said it was good that the jurors were cautious.

"You have to be careful," he said. "If he's guilty, he should be put away. But if you convict him and then later they say it wasn't a fair trial, that doesn't do anyone any good."

St. Clair County Prosecutor Peter George said he plants to try Ackerman on the criminal sexual conduct charges again.

"This is just a lull in the action," Miller said.

 
 










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