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Multiple recording devices found inside Hillsborough County teacher's classroom

Posted at 5:14 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 21:13:59-04

VALRICO, Fla. — New information is surfacing about a Hillsborough County teacher who admitted to secretly recording his students undressing.

ABC Action News is now learning Mark Ackett has been privately recording his students at Bloomingdale High School for more than a year.

Hillsborough County Schools confirm Ackett was hired and placed at the Valrico school in January of 2017.

Investigators say Ackett admitted to beginning the recordings during that time.

“Surprised the heck out of me,” Larry Ott, a grandparent of a Bloomingdale High School student said.

Parents tell ABC Action News they’re outraged and disgusted that something of this nature could be going on for as long as it has.

According to warrants, authorities found two cell phones, three digital cameras and multiple memory devices inside Ackett’s fashion design classroom.

We also learned the Hillsborough County Sheriff took a school-issued desktop computer, tablet and laptop from his classroom as evidence.

On that equipment, eight additional videos revealed two students changing. 

“An adult doing something like that, these are children,” Ott said.

After a 27-year career with the Hillsborough Schools, Ackett admitted to recording his students for nearly two years.

His downfall happened September 11, 2018, when a 17-year-old student said she was changing inside a dressing room specifically made for the fashion design classroom.

Investigators report the victim was in her underwear when she spotted two cell phones.

The devices were in separate boxes, the lenses exposed and at least one of the devices were recording. 

“I just can’t imagine something doing something like that, especially at school,” Ott said.

The Hillsborough County Schools sent ABC Action News this statement:

“We are cooperating in every way with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we cannot comment on the specific details.

Our number one concern is our students. The leaders and counselors at the school have been working with students since we first learned about these stunning and disturbing allegations last week. Our mental health and crisis response professionals have been involved since day one and will remain in close contact with the school to help any student in need.

We and our entire community place trust in our teachers. It is devastating for all of us when a teacher breaks that trust.”

Ackett was arrested for video voyeurism but has since been released on a $7,500 bond.