Ex-Army major, wife convicted of abusing 3 N.J. foster kids
A former U.S. Army major and his wife have been convicted on federal child abuse charges after physically abusing and torturing their three foster kids to the point that they suffered broken bones and sought drinking water from a toilet.
Carolyn Jackson, 37, and John E. Jackson, 40, who until May served at the Picatinny Arsenal Installation in Morris County, NJ., face years behind bars after convicted in a Newark federal court Wednesday.
John Jackson was found guilty of 10 of 13 substantive counts of endangering the welfare of a child while his wife was found guilty on 12 of 13.
The verdict follows years of abuse against the kids who were all under the age of 4 and developmentally delayed, prosecutors said.
While residing with the couple and their three biological kids, prosecutors say two of the children sustained fractured bones — including a fractured spins, skull and upper arms — and failed to provide prompt medical attention.
Food and water was additionally withheld from two of the kids while at other times they were forced to consume foods "intended to cause them pain and suffering," prosecutors said.
That included red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and excessive sodium substances while deprived of water. On two separate occasions it led to life-threatening conditions.
"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," prosecutors said.
The years of abuse was kept secret thanks to threats and their biological children told that the abuse was justified and used to train them.
When one of the biological children told someone outside the family, authorities said Carolyn Jackson beat the child 30 times with a belt.
Both face up to 10 years in person on each of the counts as well as a maximum $250,000 fine for each count.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 13.
All of the children, adoptive and biological, have been taken out of the couple's custody. One of the children died in May 2008. Neither of the defendants was charged in that child's death.