Whitesburg KY

Couple convicted of sexually abusing girl, 7

A Letcher Circuit Court jury found a Deane couple guilty of sexually abusing a seven-year-old girl after a three-day trial last week.

Carroll Paul Jackson, 30, of 60 Candle Drive, Deane, was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse. Susan Jackson, 28, was found guilty of tampering with a witness after she tried to persuade the child to withhold testimony or falsely testify that the incidents involving Carroll Paul Jackson did not occur.

The seven-year-old girl testified during the trial and told jurors the crime occurred on March 11, 2008.

Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II said testimony by children in sexual abuse cases is extremely difficult.

“Few adults are willing to appear in open court and tell all who happen to be present exactly how the sexual assault occurred, along with every possible detail that they can recall,” said Banks. “For a child, this is even more difficult as the child often mistakenly believes that the sexual abuse is somehow their fault, much as a victim of domestic violence often does.”

Banks said a child can be easily confused and appear to not be truthful to a jury as a result. He said if a child does what a jury deems to be too good of a job in testifying, it is often believed the child was coached.

“In these two cases we had a very brave little girl who answered all of the questions of the social workers, the state police, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, (S.A.N.E.), the judges in both courts, six different attorneys in both courts, and ultimately had to testify in open court and come in direct contact with those responsible for her sexual assault,” said Banks. “Through each of these interviews and testimony in District and later Circuit Court, the child consistently told what had happened, including an approximate time, the place and the role of each defendant in the sexual assault.”

The jury recommended that Carroll Paul Jackson be sentenced to 10 years in prison and Susan Jackson be sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum allowed by law in both cases.

Banks said Letcher County is fortunate to have a certified S.A.N.E nurse on call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to perform sexual assault examinations on both adults and children.

“I have no doubt that the independent corroboration of the sexual assault found when the child was examined by the S.A.N.E. nurse played a large role in the jury finding both defendants guilty and returning the maximum penalty authorized by law for each defendant,” said Banks.

Sentencing for the Jacksons is scheduled for August 12 before Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright.

“I hope the jury verdict sends a strong message to all defendants awaiting trial for similar offenses that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” said Banks. “Those who harm a child or an adult need to know that they will be vigorously prosecuted and any type of early release from prison vehemently opposed by my office.”

Banks said that too often sex abuse cases involving children are forced to be pleaded down to lesser charges because the child is too afraid or too young to testify.

Banks finds it disturbing that Susan Jackson is eligible for release from prison on parole after she has served just 15 percent of her five-year sentence, and that Carroll Paul Jackson can be released after serving only 20 percent of his sentence after he has completed the sexual abuse treatment program required by law.

“I encourage any citizen who is appalled at the likelihood that these defendants and countless others … will be released by the parole board after serving only a very small portion of their sentences to write to the governor, their state representative, state senator and the parole board to let them know you do not agree with this policy,” Banks said. “The money supposedly saved by the early release of convicted felons will be of little or no use to the new crime victims who have become victims because of the mass early release of convicted felons.”

Banks said he and social workers, police officers, counselors and the girl’s foster parents were especially touched by the little girl’s statement to her baby sister that she had no choice but spend time away from her and at the trial testifying “because she was doing the trial for both of them.”

“The words of this little girl reminded all of us why we do what we do for a living,” Banks said. “I for one will never forget this little girl or how brave she was to face her accusers. I suspect that the jury and all of the individuals who have come to know this child because of her sexual assault will also never forget her.”

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