UNIVERSITY PARK – A 26-year-old University Park United Methodist Church volunteer has been charged with sexually molesting a child.
James Ackley was arrested January 16 on charges of sexual molestation of a child and online solicitation of a minor. He was jailed on $96,000 bond.
The investigation began when the victim’s father grew suspicious of some late night text messages his daughter was receiving.
According to an arrest affidavit, the father was discussing the messages with his daughter when Ackley sent a nude photo of himself. The father then turned the phone over to a detective.
Soon, the affidavit says, investigators learned Ackley was in a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship with the underage girl. He’s accused of kissing and holding hands with the victim on a retreat last year. Later, the victim says they had sexual contact in his pickup near University Park United Methodist Church, where he volunteered with youth.
The church is cooperating with authorities.
Ackley has also worked at Bishop Lynch High School. He last substituted there in November and has helped set up lights in the theater department twice since the first of this year.
Both University Park Methodist Church and Bishop Lynch say they do thorough background checks of all volunteers. The church requires parents, volunteers and children to take online training in sexual abuse.
Ackley, who was released on bond, had no comment on the charges against him.