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A U.S. Army major and his wife are accused of abusing foster kids for years, breaking their bones, force-feeding them hot sauce, and denying them water.
John and Carolyn Jackson of Mount Holly, New Jersey, even allegedly used one of their biological kids to guard the toilet bowls so the foster children couldn't try to quench their thirst, New York's WNBC-TV reports.
The two are being charged with a whopping 17 counts related to their alleged abuse.
Child abuse broadly covers any type of cruelty towards a child, including mental abuse, physical harm, neglect, and sexual abuse or exploitation.
Like this case, a child abuse case can include assault and battery charges.
In many states, certain people are legally required to report abuse. But the sad reality is that many child abuse cases go unreported.
In the Jacksons' case, one of the children allegedly reported the abuse. That's right, the kid had to do it alone. After finding out, the foster mom allegedly beat the child with a belt, reports WNBC.
While child abuse laws are strong and aim to protect children, the justice system is set up to also protect those who are wrongfully accused. Defenses the Army major and his wife might use include:
Most devastating, if the foster-child abuse allegations are true, it's the kids who will suffer just as much as the couple. A child who has been abused or neglected can experience a range of problems, like relationship difficulties, lack of trust of adults, emotional outbursts, low performance at school, depression, anxiety, and anger.
If you suspect a child is being abused, go with your gut and report it immediately.