When you think of an Army major, what comes to mind? An upstanding citizen? Someone with the utmost respect for rules and regulations? Someone who fights for what's right? Unfortunately none of those match up with the story of foster dad and Army Major John E. Jackson or his wife Carolyn or the charges of child abuse lodged against them in a New Jersey court this week.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman called what happened to three kids in the Jackson home "unimaginable cruelty." The Jacksons are accused of everything from breaking the bones of foster kids in their care to force-feeding the children hot sauce.
A 22-page indictment alleges the man who served his country in both Iraq and Afghanistan came home to run a home where kids were beaten with a "deadly weapon" and refused food and water to "train" them to behave.
The two notions are at distinct odds with one another. We honor the members of our armed forces with annual holidays, parents get their kids to send them thank-you letters and boxes of cookies, employers count military service as proof positive that a veteran is a good job candidate. In particular, we tend to think of someone who has been an officer, someone who has risen to a position of power and respect in the military, to be deserving of said respect.
The John Jackson described in the federal indictment is anything but. That John Jackson sounds like a monster, a man who brought three defenseless children into his home and forced them to live in hell.
The Jacksons apparently adopted the three foster kids, one of whom died in 2008. They made these kids their own, and then, if allegations are to be believed, they made these kids' lives a living hell.
That's not the story of a well-respected Army officer. It's the story of a monster parading as a well-respected Army officer, presenting a different face to the world.
How this case will play out in the weeks and months to come will determine whether these kids will get justice. Carolyn and John Jackson could face up to 10 years in prison per charge if convicted of the 17-some charges against them.
Whatever comes, it is sure to put a new face on John Jackson the Army Major.
Would you have expected something so awful to be going on inside the home of a military officer?
Image via malas fotos de k/Flickr