NEWARK - An Army major and his wife appeared in a Newark federal court Tuesday to face child endangerment charges stemming from a 17-count indictment.

John and Carolyn Jackson are charged with numerous counts of endangerment as well as assault and conspiracy. The indictment claims the crimes occurred while the couple lived at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County with their three biological and three adopted or foster children.

Among the accusations is that the Jacksons denied the children food and water, physically assaulted them and denied them medical care. One child died in 2008, but the parents are not charged with that death.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has jurisdiction because the alleged crimes occurred on a military installation.

“Carolyn and John Jackson are charged with unimaginable cruelty to children they were trusted to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “The crimes alleged should not happen to any child, anywhere, and it is deeply disturbing that they would happen on a military installation. Along with the FBI, we will continue to seek justice for our communities' most vulnerable victims.”

The defendants were read the charges Tuesday.