Military couple convicted of child abuse of their foster kids
John E. Jackson, 40, a former US Army Major at the Picatinny Arsenal Installation in Morris County, New Jersey and his wife Carolyn Jackson, 37, were found guilty of child abuse by the U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in the Newark Federal Court. The federal jury in the Newark Federal Court directed the verdict on July 8, 2015, after contemplating on the issue for approximately four days. The case falls under federal jurisdiction because the crimes were committed on a military base.
The couple was charged with child endangerment and assault of their three foster kids. Allegations were made that the victim children were toddlers and suffered severe injuries including broken arm and fractured spine. The victim children were even forced to eat hot pepper flakes and hot sauce as punishment.
The defense attorneys for the couple contended that although the couple’s parenting methods may have been objectionable, they weren’t illegal. They added that the foster children had health problems when they joined the Jackson family.
During the trial, the government prosecutor presented the X-ray reports of the injuries as evidence to the jury. Conviction for John was upheld on 10 out of the 13 counts he faced, while his wife, Carolyn, was found guilty on 12 of 13 counts. Both have been convicted for conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child, and on multiple counts of child endangerment.
This was the second trial for the Jackson couple as the previous one was declared as mistrial by the judge last November, 2014, when a prosecutor inadvertently referred to the fact that one of the children had died. The judge had previously ruled that the boy’s death could not be introduced during the trial since the defendants were not charged directly with his death.
Both John and Carolyn face up to 10 years in prison on each of the counts as well as a maximum $250,000 fine for each count. Sentencing has been scheduled for October 13, 2015.