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Former mayor convicted on indecent exposure counts

Updated:
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.

The allegations involved 11 girls ages 8 to 15. In one instance,
three girls -- 9, 11 and 13 -- testified that 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 sexually inappropriate to
any of his 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
accidentally.

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 Huron three years later and resigned in
April, one day after charges were filed.

Before he was escorted from court in handcuffs 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.

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