Four of the Jackson Brothers Plead Guilty in Incest, Rape Case

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

In May 2014,  news broke about a homeschooling family — the Jackson family from North Carolina — that hid child sexual abuse within the family for over a decade. A young girl (then 16 years old) was repeatedly molested and raped by the six Jackson brothers, Eric (27), Jon (25), Matthew (23), Nathaniel (21), Benjamin (19), and Aaron (18). This sexual abuse occurred from the time she was 4 until she was 14. The boys’ parents, John and Nita Jackson, knew about the abuse and yet did nothing to prevent it.

The original news report from WTKR notes that in addition to the brothers being charged, the parents were also charged “because they witnessed the abuse” and took no action. Furthermore, as Julie Anne Smith at Spiritual Sounding Board has pointed out, “At the time of the alleged abuse, they were living in North Carolina and two of the brothers were reportedly members of Scott Brown’s church, Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina.” This would be the same Scott Brown who has “very close ties with the now defunct Vision Forum Ministries and recently fallen Christian Patriarchal leader, Doug Phillips. Brown also heads up National Centers for Family-Integrated Churches.”

The latest development in the Jackson family story happened last Thursday, May 21, 2015. As reported by WAVY, four of the six brothers pleaded guilty to the charges against them:

The oldest brother, Eric Jackson, who first came forward about the sex crimes happening in the family’s home, pleaded guilty to first-degree sex offense. The second-oldest brother, Matthew Jackson, took the same plea deal, leaving both brothers to serve 12 to 15 years in prison.

The two oldest brothers could barely speak through their tears Thursday afternoon, as they asked for the victim’s forgiveness. They said they were trying to make the situation right, and will do whatever God calls them to do in the future. The victim responded, saying, ” Forgiveness is not mine to give. It’s God’s. You need to take it up with Him.”

Nathaniel and Benjamin Jackson pleaded guilty to 4 counts and 3 counts of incest, respectively. They will receive 20 to 24 months in prison, followed by 36 months probation.

The other two brothers, Jon Marc and Aaron Jackson, are taking slightly different routes. Jon Marc’s case is being postponed until July due to an alleged conflict of interest on the judge’s part. However, Jon Marc is still expected to plead guilty. Aaron Jackson, on the other hand, declined the state’s plea agreement and desires his case to go to trial. He is thus expected back in court at the beginning of next year.

Both of the Jackson parents are also expected to appear in court in August to face charges of child neglect, child abuse, and accessory to sexual abuse charges. During the brothers’ trial, the victim said that, at one point during her 10 years of abuse, the mother, Nita, witnessed the girl being assaulted and “walked away.” The young girl also said that “she believed she would go to hell if she told anyone about the assaults.” She thanked the oldest brother, Eric, for stepping forward and admitting the abuse to his pastor.

For more information about this case, read our original article on it: “This is What Child Abusers Look Like in Homeschooling Communities.”

15 comments

  • Pingback: Dear Homeschool Parents and Leaders, Jesus Doesn’t Need Your Reputation « HARO

  • I’m really sorry this has ever been framed as a “homeschooling” abuse. This crime occurs throughout societies worldwide, regardless of whether children are home schooled or not, regardless of the income generated by the adults in the home, etc.

    I hope all the perpetrators (direct and indirect) serve time for their part in this crime.

    • It’s true that this kind of thing happens in all sorts of families, but homeschooling environments can put it in a different context, it often means something different. I mean, that’s the whole point of this website. A kid who goes to school at least has a way of getting out for a while, a homeschooled kid might not have that. Kids with school are more likely to have support networks other than his/her family, and there are mandated reporters who are supposed to say something if they suspect abuse. (though physical abuse and neglect are more likely to be noticed than sexual abuse) This specific environment, a highly religious one adhering to a specific ideology, contributed greatly. Where does homeschool factor in? There’s a good chance the victim didn’t have exposure to other viewpoints, one that would’ve told her she could report it without risking eternal damnation. The main reason people like this homeschool is to prevent their kids from learning other points of view, after all.

      • I concede the point but all abusers isolate their victims in some manner. Whether it’s convincing them not to tell someone or minimizing contact with people who may notice something awry and a mandatory reporting clause as part of their employment. At any rate, it’s a bigger problem throughout society than most people realize.

    • I understand what you are saying, Lee, but it really is uniquely a danger in fundamentalist homeschooling environments. Any chance that a child could be helped by a mandated reporter evaporates. Also, religious homeschoolers firmly believe that public schools are inherently evil- demonic, that is, not just no good. This delusional paranoia is unhealthy and a symptom of someone who is not in a good mental place to be homeschooling numerous children. And yet is in enforced by group dynamics.

      • That’s just sad.

        I’m not a religious person and in fact, I prefer to keep it and fervent followers at a great distance overall, but I do have at least several friends who are Christians (and Muslims and Jews – but all of the more moderate varieties) and they really practice the best portions of their faiths. So I try very hard to not let my suspicions get too out of hand. The past several weeks have been pretty tough for me.

        What can I say, I really do try to cut the cake slices evenly so no one feels they got the smallest piece. Yes, if I cut, everyone else gets to choose their piece before I get mine. Well, unless they ASK for a small portion. That’s different.

        Wow, viewing public schools and all the people within them and their families as demonic is just as short-sighted and bigoted as never getting to know someone who does share their religious beliefs (when asked about them, preferably) because “all those people are hypocritical so-and-so’s”.

        How sad to think of entire generations raised in such profound fear.

      • Crud. ‘With’ profound fear.

  • Lee. I was home schooled with misogynistic Christian teachings, if I had went to public school I could have met all kinds of people, people maybe that were not misogynistic, were for raped little girls rights.

    My southern Baptist Christian father was a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, and son of a southern Baptist preacher, he told me when I was a young teenager that rape “is not that big of a deal”.

    My father, the person that decided I would go to home school hated raped women and raped little girls with a bloody passion, he thought they should keep their mouths shut.

    The little girl in this story no doubt like me was trapped, she had to see the same sick people every day, going to school is freedom, home school for me was being trapped with people who hated me, hated women, and hated sexually abused little girls.

    I am a survivor of childhood Christianity, childhood rape, and misogynistic home schooling.

    “At any rate, it’s a bigger problem throughout society than most people realize.”

    Pro home schoolers have been preaching hate against sexual abuse victims all week, and yes, we survivors have heard them LOUD and CLEAR.

    I hope the mother and the father in this story goes to prison for the rest of their lives, they are odious.

    • Religion just never took hold in me and abuses like the ones you suffered continue to haunt. I can only imagine the scars it left on your psyche.

      I want to see these parents (and the Duggars!) go to jail for what they permitted to occur to their children.

      Admittedly, we live in a nation of laws rather than justice, but I’d like to see the perpetrators go to jail for a very long time.

  • Yes, sexual abuse is disturbingly common in all demographics. But religious fundamentalist leaders, for decades, have preached that their way of life is *the only way to escape Sodom and all its sexual perversions.” THEY live chaste and moral lives while the rest of us are hedonistic perverts. It’s not the hypocrisy so much as that their teachings leave families with no idea what to do when disaster strikes. And nowhere to turn except back to the group that lay the groundwork for abuse in the first place.

  • That’s very sad to see. I’m terribly lucky that my parents eschewed raising us in a strict faith tradition, enrolled us in a very well-regarded public school system and provided us with additional instruction along the way. Plus taking advantage of all sorts of neat things in the community. Christmas was fun, Easter was all about the goodies (although I’d go with my grandmother to get the food blessed the day before) and I have friends who are Jewish, others who are Muslim and I don’t recall any of us being bullied or harassed about our practices. Or lack thereof.

    I have a friend who told me while we were in high school that her older brother HAD molested her when she was younger and while I *almost* said, “You’re kidding” (NOT because I didn’t believe her, but because I was shocked), I managed to swallow that reply and said, “He has to be called out on it. Do you want me to go with you to (favorite teacher) or the school counselor? I can be in the room with you, or wait outside the door. Your call.”

    She did want me to walk with her. Years later she told me that just knowing someone would take her seriously made a huge difference. I’m not a helicopter mother, but I always try to have some sort of connection with my kids so if something DOES occur, I hope they know I will support them to the best of my ability. Sometimes that means calling them out on some nonsense, other times it means shutting up, nodding and offering a cup of tea. I hang onto all their friends’ phone numbers and their parents too. Just in case. It’s funny how infrequently people change their mobile numbers!

  • Rebecca Howell

    It’s extremely strange to me that several brothers were doing this with their sister. There is more to the story than just parents turning a blind eye. One molester in a family- could be a fluke, but a bunch of them doing it at the same time… This is learned behavior. There are really weird parents. I’ve heard some horror stories about parents, that are to appalling to repeat. Sick people in all walks of life.

  • I am a mother of 7 wonderful children.They are 19 – 2 yrs. old. My oldest child graduated last year. She never attended a public or private school. We use a very advanced curriculum. She, as my other children, are educated and well socialized.
    I grew up going to public school. My parents were not religious. My farther was alcoholic who beat and verbally abused us. I was molested by one of his friends. Just about every friend I had growing up was molested. We were from different families dynamics and social standings. It is a huge problem in society.
    I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist. I got saved when I was 27 yrs. old, married with 2 children. One of the many reasons I chose to homeschool my children was because of sexual abuse. Teachers, priests, camp workers, doctors, all kind of people prey on children. How many times have we as people been shocked to learn that a seeming normal person was abusing children. The college coach, catholic priests, foster parents, the list goes on.
    I don’t teach my children to live in fear of it constantly happening. I teach then that no one has any right to touch them in their private areas, unless they are at the doctors and it is needed. I tell them that if anything every happens like that that no matter what the perpetrator says it’s not their fault and mommy will believe them.
    It saddens me to see people use homeschooling and God to cover up the abuse of children. Not all IFB people are the same. A lot of us love our children and would never hurt them, or allow others to.

  • During the hearing (not a trial) the victim only said two things, “It’s not mine to forgive…” and, “thank you Eric [older brother] for bringing this to light…” She didn’t say anything about being threatened with hell. The parents are only accused of having knowledge of the abuse. The two oldest brothers are the only ones who have admitted guilt in these matters. The others took plea bargains because the State offered 2-4 years instead of a potential 80 years and one of them pleaded “no contest.” They took their gamble. So, do you or any of us know anything, really? No, not unless you (we) were there and witnessed it, and I certainly wasn’t. But I do know that there is much more to this situation than what has been reported and recorded.

  • Pingback: Is homeschooling the vehicle by which abuse can be more easily facilitated? | Spiritual Sounding Board

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