Horrific: NJ Couple Resentenced for Abusing Adopted Children, Feds Say
Federal prosecutors say a former U.S. Army major and his wife have been sentenced for the third time for their roles in abusing their adopted children who all were less than 4-years-old and developmentally delayed.
And authorities say the abuse included breaking bones, denying them medical attention, withholding water, and force-feeding them hot sauce, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig.
44-year-old Carolyn Jackson was sentenced to time served and her husband, 46-year-old John E. Jackson was sentenced to 18 months of home confinement on Wednesday.
Convicted by a jury in July 2015 on multiple counts of child endangerment, Carolyn Jackson had received 24 months in prison and John E. Jackson had received probation and 400 hours of community service when they were originally sentenced in December 2015. The government appealed their sentences to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which ruled in July 2017 that the District Court had committed several errors in the process of imposing those sentences. The defendants were resentenced on April 11, 2018. Carolyn Jackson received a sentence of 40 months in prison, with credit for time served. John Jackson received the same probationary sentence. The government appealed for a second time and the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated and remanded for a second resentencing after finding once again several errors.
The Jacksons were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. Carolyn Jackson was found guilty of 11 substantive counts of endangering the welfare of a child; John Jackson was found guilty of nine substantive counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
The case falls under federal jurisdiction because the crimes were committed on a military base, says Honig.
Officials say the alleged abuse began back in August 2005, when the Jacksons, "conspired to engage in a constant course of neglect and cruelty towards three children they fostered and then adopted."
The Jacksons reportedly told their biological children not to report the physical assaults to others, saying that the punishments and disciplinary techniques were justified as "training."
As part of the conspiracy, the Jacksons physically assaulted their adopted children with various objects, causing two children to sustain fractured bones (including a fractured spine, fractured skull and fractured upper arms); failed to seek prompt medical attention for their injuries; withheld sufficient nourishment and food from their adopted children; withheld adequate water from two of their children and, at times, prohibited them from drinking water altogether; forced two of the children to consume foods intended to cause them pain and suffering, such as red pepper flakes and hot sauce, and caused one child to ingest excessive sodium or sodium-laden substances while being deprived of water, leading to a life-threatening condition on two separate occasions in two states. The Jacksons even punished one adopted child, who had to resort to sneaking food and drinking from the toilet, by hitting the child, making the child ingest hot sauce, and forcing the child to eat a raw onion like an apple.
None of the children, adoptive and biological, remain in the custody of the Jacksons.