Disgraced Former Olympic Boxer Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Sex Crimes Against Minors. ‘You Have a Problem,’ Judge Says
“You are the textbook example of a child predator,” U.S. District Judge Robert Molloy told former Olympic boxer John Jackson as he sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
The star athlete was arrested in February 2019 after the father of a minor girl went to local police to report that Jackson had been having sex with his daughter. On April 22 2022, Jackson was found guilty by a federal jury of a slew of sex crimes, including child pornography, first-and second-degree rape, and transportation of a minor for sexual activity.
During his trial, prosecutors played a V.I. Police Department interview with Jackson in court, where Jackson confessed to having sex with a 15-year-old victim, also admitting that the minor gave him oral sex on his birthday. The jury was also shown video footage recorded by Jackson of him having sex with the victim. At the time, he was 30 years old.
The court also heard evidence that Jackson had supplied his victims with cannabis brownies, which he never partook in himself. Although the convicted sex offender has maintained ignorance that the minors were underage, Judge Molloy during Thursday’s sentencing rejected Jackson’s assertion. “You knew,” Molloy told him. Jackson was found to have picked up his victims on some occasions from their high school compounds, while they were wearing their school uniforms. He also delivered candy to them on school grounds, laced with contraceptive medication.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors argued for a sentence of between 30 and 40 years. Jackson, they said, was an inveterate predator. “The defendant lurked around school campuses. He lurked in message boxes on the Facebook pages of girls,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Natasha Baker.
His crimes left an indelible impact on the lives of his victims. Although investigations identified that he may have raped as many as six minor girls, only three felt able to come forward to testify against him. “We have hurt victims, hurt families, and a hurting community,” Ms. Baker told the court. Those who were brave enough to speak about what Jackson did to them were subject to the scrutiny of the public, and “much has been said in the community about these victims,” the federal prosecutor told the court.
All three have experienced a deleterious impact on their performance at school, and their mental health and emotional well-being has suffered significantly as well. The mother of one of the victims said that her daughter “has no self-worth. She just feels that she is not worth anything.”
She admitted in court that she herself had initially contributed to her daughter’s suffering, as when the girl disclosed to her that Jackson had preyed upon her, “I said some really bad things to her. …I owe my daughter the biggest apology that I can.”
Jackson’s latest defense attorney Jason Gonzalez-Delgado asked for the court to impose the minimum allowable sentence of 15 years, which Judge Molloy rejected as “wholly inadequate”.
Ultimately, Molloy decided that the 25-year sentence was most appropriate, followed by supervised release for the rest of his life, and lifetime registration as a sex offender. “At its most basic level, you were having sex with children,” the judge told Jackson. “Your actions were the classic actions of a child predator. You used your fame, you used your charm, you used your flashy car, and you used your wit to prey on young victims.”
Referencing Jackson’s previous accomplishments in the sporting arena, the judge told him that “the bad significantly outweighs the good you have done.” Judge Molloy also noted that Jackson’s own children are victims, as they will now spend decades with a father who is incarcerated and away from the home.
In addition to his prison term and restrictive release conditions, Jackson will have to pay restitution to the three victims, on which prosecutors were asked to submit a recommendation within the next 90 days. A special assessment of $13,600 has also been ordered.
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