New Jersey couple posts bail in federal child abuse case

John and Carolyn Jackson

May 2, 2013 8:25:41 PM PDT
An Army major and his wife accused in New Jersey of abusing their three foster children are free on $250,000 bail each.

They arrived back at their townhouse just before 6:00 p.m. and were surrounded by cameras and reporters.

"No comment," John Jackson told reporters before entering his home.

John and Carolyn Jackson will be confined to their house here in Mount Holly, that is just one of many restrictions a federal judge imposed when he released them.

The judge ordered them to be fitted with electronic ankle bracelets and on Thursday night, two officers arrived at the home to do just that.

The court also ordered that they have no direct or indirect contact with children.

The Jacksons' lawyers had nothing to say as they left federal court in Newark earlier in the day.

In court, they argued the couple should be freed on bail because they're not likely to flee and are not a risk to the community.

Judge Mark Falk countered that they're clearly a risk to their children.

John and Carolyn Jackson were arrested Tuesday on a 17 count indictment charging them with horrific acts of child abuse.

The Jacksons have three biological children and three adopted foster children.

A grand jury found the Jacksons starved the foster children and subjected them to harsh discipline that resulted in broken bones.

They also allegedly force fed them hot peppers and large amounts of salt while refusing to let them drink water.

The grand jury says one child suffered life threatening dehydration.

The alleged abuse happened over a five year period until the state removed the children from the Jackson home in 2010.

Since then the government says the Jacksons have violated the restrictions imposed by family court, including unsupervised visits and sleepovers.

One of the foster children died at the age of two in 2008.

The government says the child had also been abused, but at the time, state investigators ruled the death was not caused by abuse.

Judge Falk today appointed third party custodians for the children and ordered the Jacksons to have no direct or indirect contact with them while they're free on bail.

The Jacksons had been fighting the state trying to get their children back over the past three years. Now, they're facing criminal charges that could send them to jail for a long time.

This is a federal case because John Jackson is a Major in the Army and the abuse allegedly happened on a military base in North Jersey.