Former teacher pleads guilty to 324 counts of video voyeurism involving students

Former teacher pleads guilty to 324 counts of video voyeurism involving students
Mark Ackett (Source: Hillsborough County Jail)

TAMPA, Fla. (WWSB) - A teacher accused of video voyeurism has pleaded guilty to 323 counts of Video Voyeurism by a School Employee (a second degree felony) and one count of Video Voyeurism of an Adult (a third degree felony).

Mark Ackett, a former fashion design teacher at Bloomingdale High School, secretly recorded 125 individual victims while changing clothes in a dressing room.

Ackett entered an open plea of guilty to 324 counts which represent all 125 of Ackett’s victims from the school in Valrico — 124 students and one adult employee of the school.

“This plea spares these young women the pain of reliving their victimization during a trial, and it helps them heal. We’ve worked to make sure these victims have access to services and counseling,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said. “As the father of two young daughters, I’m not sure what I can say to these young women to bring back what Mark Ackett took away from them— but I can now say, to each of them, we have delivered justice.”

Ackett also pled guilty to 27 counts from an unrelated video voyeurism case not connected to his teaching position.

These charges came from additional instances of video voyeurism that were discovered by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on devices seized from Ackett. While not connected to the school, 13 of these instances involved victims under the age of 16. Those 13 counts are second-degree felonies; the other 14 are third-degree felonies.

Ackett faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for each second degree felony, and up to five years for each third degree felony. The actual sentencing will be determined by the judge, who can also decide whether some or all of the sentences will run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (back-to-back).

In addition to being a teacher, Ackett was also the girls’ track coach at the school.

He used hidden cell phones to secretly record hundreds of students in a changing area until a student discovered the concealed devices in September 2018. Ackett was arrested and resigned his teaching position, and sheriff’s office experts went to work gathering evidence from a range of devices, storage drives and online accounts connected with him.

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