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Ex-U.S. Army major, wife sentenced for 4th time in abuse of adopted kids


By Nicolas Fernandes | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

A former U.S. Army major and his wife have been sentenced for the fourth time in the abuse of their three developmentally delayed adoptive children.

John E. Jackson, 48, and Carolyn Jackson, 46, were convicted of multiple counts of child endangerment in 2015 in the abuse of the children, who were all under the age of 4 at the time, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.

They were previously sentenced in 2021, with Carolyn receiving a 40-month prison term and her husband receiving 18 months of home confinement. The U.S. Court of Appeals then ordered a resentencing after determining that the district court failed to follow its directions to consider the children’s multiple injuries “holistically and in the context of the jury’s findings of guilt” in determining causation, officials said.

On Monday, Carolyn Jackson was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months and her husband was sentenced to 9 years.

“Carolyn Jackson and John Jackson inflicted cruel and devastating abuse on three child victims over five years,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “The defendants’ systematic abuse was horrifying, and included physical assaults, withholding of food, water, and medical care, and forcing them to ingest hot sauce, among other inhumane treatment... The prison sentences imposed today hold Carolyn Jackson and John Jackson accountable for their horrific crimes, and bring a measure of justice for their victims.”

The couple took in two foster children in June 2008 while living at the Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, according to a 22-page indictment from 2013. Three years earlier, they had taken in another foster child and eventually legally adopted all three of them, documents said.

In the 17-count indictment, authorities alleged that the Jacksons beat the three children with “deadly weapons, fractured their bones and withheld food and water from them.” Prosecutors also accused the couple of instructing their two biological children to prevent the foster children from eating or drinking anything and to not report any of the abuse.

It was also alleged that John and Carolyn Jackson forced the children to eat food that would harm them, including red pepper flakes, hot sauce and large quantities of sodium, according to the indictment.

At their first sentencing in 2015, Carolyn received a 24-month prison term and her husband received probation, plus 400 hours of community service. Resentencings were ordered after the court of appeals found procedural errors.

They were resentenced in 2018, with Carolyn being handed down the 40-month term and John getting the same sentence that included probation and community service. Those sentences were also appealed due to procedural errors.

2023 Oct 31