Probation, prison for military couple in child abuse case

A federal judge has sentenced a former Army major to probation and his wife to two years in a New Jersey child abuse case in

A military couple convicted of abusing their adopted

A military couple convicted of abusing their adopted children were sentenced Tuesday. (Credit: File Photo)

NEWARK - A federal judge has sentenced a former Army major to probation and his wife to two years in a New Jersey child abuse case in which they were convicted on multiple counts of abusing their three foster children.

The sentences Tuesday amounted to a rebuke to the prosecution, which had sought 15½ to 19½ years for John and Carolyn Jackson.

Prosecutors presented evidence that the three toddlers were severely underweight and suffered broken bones, and were forced to eat hot pepper flakes and drink hot sauce as punishment. One died, though the Jacksons weren't charged with his death.

Judge Katharine Hayden cited Army Maj. John Jackson's military record and the fact he didn't participate directly in the abuse. She agreed that Carolyn Jackson endangered the children's welfare.

Previously, the couple’s biological son told a judge that his parents should get the maximum sentence for the abuse.

The son described watching the toddlers suffer and said the effects of the abuse "will last the rest of our lives." It was his disclosure to a family friend that ultimately led to his parents' arrest.

The Jacksons deserved the maximum sentence so that "they suffer just as much" as their children did, he told U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden Tuesday.

John Jackson was an Army major at Picatinny Arsenal in northwestern New Jersey when the abuse occurred. He was administratively separated from the Army in April, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Defense attorneys argued during the trial that the Jacksons' child-rearing methods might have been objectionable but they didn't constitute crimes, and that the foster children had pre-existing health problems.

The Jacksons' first trial in 2014 ended when the judge declared a mistrial after a prosecutor, while questioning a witness, 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.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

More than 1,000 runners dressed as Santa Claus 1 Santas run through Asbury Park for charity
VIDEO: News conference on arrest in murder of 2 VIDEO: News conference on arrest in murder of Sarah Butler
News 12 New Jersey - Weather On The 3 New Jersey Weather Forecast
4 Toys from 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' hit shelves
As News 12 New Jersey has reported, Khalil 5 Vigil held for slain Montclair woman

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

John and Carolyn Jackson were convicted of abusing Military couple convicted of child abuse charges

A military couple accused of abusing three foster children has been convicted of most of

Couple faces federal child abuse charges Couple faces federal child abuse charges

An Army major and his wife appeared in a Newark federal court Tuesday to face

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE