A former U.S. Army major and his wife have been sentenced for a fourth time for their roles in abusing their adopted children who all were less than 4 years old and developmentally delayed, "through neglectful and cruel acts."

Editor's note: we caution you that the details of this case are extremely graphic and disturbing.

On Monday, 46-year-old Carolyn Jackson was sentenced to 140 months, or about 11 1/2 years, in prison.

Her husband, 48-year-old John E. Jackson, formerly a major in the Army at the Picatinny Arsenal Installation in Morris County, was sentenced to 108 months, or 9 years, in prison.

Years of horrific abuse

Federal authorities say from August 2005 thtough April 2010, the pair engaged in a constant course of neglect and cruelty towards three children they fostered and then adopted.

  • The Jacksons physically assaulted their adopted children, causing two to sustain fractured bones, including a fractured spine, fractured skull, and fractured upper arms.
  • They failed to seek medical attention for their injuries, leading to the partial amputation of one child’s finger and the near-death of another.
  • 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 children to consume foods intended to cause them pain and suffering, such as red pepper flakes and hot sauce.
  • One child was forced 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 punished one adopted child who had to resort to sneaking food and drinking from a toilet, by hitting the child, making the child ingest hot sauce, and forcing the child to eat a raw onion like an apple.

Abusing their own children

The Jacksons told their biological children not to report the physical assaults to others, saying that the punishments and disciplinary techniques were justified, as they were “training” the adopted children how to behave.

After the Jacksons learned that one child had talked about what was happening, Carolyn Jackson beat that child 30 times with a belt.

Found guilty

The Jacksons were each found guilty in 2015 following a four-month trial in Newark federal court 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 and John Jackson was found guilty of nine substantive counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court

Several sentencings

Initially, Carolyn Jackson received only 24 months in prison and John Jackson received probation and 400 hours of community service.

The government appealed their sentences three times, each successfully, with the U.S. Court of Appeals finding multiple errors in the sentencing process.

The case falls under federal jurisdiction because the crimes were committed on a military base.

John Jackson was discharged from the Army in 2015.

NJ 'perv' teachers, coaches busted in the past two years

There have been a number of educators, coaches and private teachers facing criminal charges for sexual offenses around New Jersey, between 2023 and 2022 alone.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM