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Jackson Files Notice He Will Appeal Rape, Child Porn Convictions

John Jackson has filed notice that he plans to appeal his conviction on rape and child pornography charges to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

John A. Jackson (VIPD photo)
John A. Jackson (VIPD photo)

The move comes after V.I. District Court Chief Judge Robert Molloy officially handed down judgment in the case on Aug. 1, sentencing Jackson to 25 years in prison and levying fines totaling $13,400.

A jury found Jackson, 34, guilty of first-degree rape, aggravated second-degree rape, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and production of child pornography on April 22, 2022, following a four-day trial in District Court on St. Thomas.

Upon his release from prison, Jackson will be required to register with the Justice Department as a Tier 3 sex offender — the highest tier, which requires being on the registry for life — to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and to participate in a psychosocial counseling, according to Molloy’s commitment order. He also will remain on probation for the rest of his life and will be subject to random drug tests, periodic polygraph examinations, may not reside in a house with anyone under the age of 18, or access pornography, the order states.

Jackson first sought to appeal his conviction in April, but that effort was stayed by the Third Circuit Court pending Molloy’s judgment and commitment order. The father of two young sons, who once had a promising boxing career and represented the USVI in the sport at the 2008 Summer Olympics, remains at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, while awaiting commitment to a federal prison.

On Friday, he filed a one-page notice of appeal. It does not state the grounds on which he plans to appeal, though in June he filed a motion alleging he is owed a new day in court and his convictions should be vacated because his constitutional rights were violated at a critical phase of his trial.

In her sentencing memorandum filed in August 2022, then U.S. Attorney Delia Smith detailed Jackson’s predatory behavior, his complete lack of remorse, his attempts to portray himself as an unwitting victim, tarnish his victims’ reputations, and dissuade them from testifying.

Jackson trolled St. Thomas high schools and social media for his victims, including one who was 14 and in the ninth grade when they met, according to Smith’s memorandum. While three victims testified at his trial, the government discovered three more who were afraid to participate in the criminal proceedings, given the community backlash that the girls who did speak out endured, she said.

Jackson’s arrest on Feb. 6, 2019, came after a friend of one of the victims convinced her to tell her father about the abuse, and he filed a police report. The child pornography conviction stems from a video found on the girl’s cellphone that Jackson made of them having sex when she was 15 and he was 30.

The three victims who testified in court detailed how Jackson would ply them with marijuana before engaging them in sex — at his home, in a delivery truck he drove, in his car, and at a house near Brookman Road — but never took the drug himself.

In one instance, he convinced two of the victims to engage in a threesome with him, according to the memorandum. One was in the ninth grade at the time, and the other in the 10th grade. In another instance, he dropped by a victim’s school to give her Plan B, a type of birth control that seeks to prevent pregnancy immediately after sexual intercourse, said Smith.

Following his arrest, Jackson sought to discredit his victims, exhaust their resolve as he sought delay after delay, and to obstruct the case, Smith stated.

Jackson complained of inadequate representation and other issues throughout his case, leading to a cascade of lawyers. Despite the trial being delayed when he requested new counsel, Jackson wrote at the end of a pro se motion he filed in January 2022 that his indictment should be dismissed because the Speedy Trial Act had been violated.

The trial date, originally scheduled for Jan. 6, 2020, was changed eight times, hampered in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, until it finally got underway on April 19, 2022.

Sentencing was to have taken place on Aug. 24, but as with the trial, delays ensued as Jackson’s trial lawyer was granted his motion to withdraw from the case due to “a breakdown in the attorney-client working relationship.” His current attorney, Jason Gonzalez Delgado, was appointed by the court on Aug. 22.

At Jackson’s sentencing in February, Molloy spoke sternly.

“It goes without saying that your actions were very, very heinous. To put it bluntly, you were having sex with children. Children have no business being in sexual relations with adults,” the judge said. “In no way am I sympathetic to you for what you have done.”

The judge refuted a claim Jackson made about not knowing how old his victims were. Jackson, he said, was driving up to public school campuses in a flashy car to pick up female students dressed in school uniforms.

But as he pronounced the penalty, Molloy chose the middle road between the prosecution’s request for 40 years, and the defense’s plea for 15, given that Jackson did not have a previous criminal history.

“I believe you are someone who can be rehabilitated, but right now, you are a danger to the community. … Mr. Jackson, you have a problem, and until you recognize that, you are going to continue to be a danger to the community,” Molloy said.

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