Salem man gets 2 years in prison for child sex

LISBON — Jesse Jackson, a 40-year-old Salem man, was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual battery involving a child who was “barely 4 years old” at the time of the crime.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones said on Monday the plea agreement was reached mostly to bring some closure for the child, who Jones said has suffered severe psychological harm.

A grandmother of the girl talked about how Jackson was responsible for ruining the child’s innocence, showing her “everything that was evil and dirty in this world.” She pointed out the child was blindfolded, which has made her afraid of the dark.

“You threatened her and she was braver and stronger than you know,” the grandmother said, “and she told the bad secret.”

Two years later, the child reportedly has nightmares about what will happen to her for telling the secret and cuts off chunks of her hair if she finds scissors.

“She says she doesn’t want to be pretty anymore,” the grandmother said.

Jackson’s sister, girlfriend and mother spoke on his behalf before sentencing. They described a man who joined the army in 2002 and served as a combat medic for nine years as he tried to help people. The family members said they saw a different man when he returned from war, one suffering from PTSD. His sister talked about times when he was unable to do things with family because he was unable to be around noise and crowds.

“I raised my son to be kind and gentle,” his mother said, adding later “He treated men, women and children who were blown to pieces.”

She said her son was a loving father for his family and worked to support them.

“I don’t know the monster who was described here,” Jackson’s mother said, “but it was not my son. It’s never been my son.”

Defense attorneys Bruce Williams and Christine Falconer asked Judge Megan Bickerton to sentence Jackson to community control with possible time in counseling at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center.

Bickerton said she had real concerns about Jackson, who was asked by Jones about how he thought what he did affected the little girl and had no answer. Bickerton said if Jackson cannot admit to what he did and that what he did was wrong she had questioned how he could be ready for counseling and not to recommit this crime again. Additionally, she said she has concerns it may be this was just the first time the father of six children had been caught.

“I commend you for your service to our country,” Bickerton said, “that’s commendable, but that does not change what you did to this little girl.”

In addition to the 24-month prison term, Bickerton said Jackson will be a Tier III sexual offender, required to register his address every 90 days for the rest of his life.