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NJ couple faces federal child abuse charges

NEWARK — An Army major and his wife disciplined their three foster children over a span of several years by withholding food and water and assaulting them severely enough to cause broken bones, a federal indictment released Tuesday charged.

John and Carolyn Jackson of Mount Holly made an initial court appearance and were detained Tuesday pending a bail hearing Thursday. They face 17 counts including endangerment, assault, and conspiracy. John Jackson surrendered after his wife was arrested at their home, federal officials said.

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The US attorney’s office has jurisdiction because the alleged crimes occurred when the couple lived at Picatinny Arsenal, a military installation about 35 miles west of New York City.

Peter Rowland, a spokesman for the arsenal, said the Jacksons lived there from 2007 to 2012. He said the arsenal would not comment on the case because it is a pending legal matter.

According to the indictment, the Jacksons had three children of their own and fostered three other children they eventually adopted. One of the foster children, referred to by the initials ‘‘J.J. #2,’’ died in 2008. The Jacksons were not charged directly with the child’s death but are charged with assaulting the child and failing to seek prompt medical care.

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