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Awaiting trial for rape, John Jackson asks to be released from jail over COVID-19 concerns

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Pro boxer John Jackson wants to be released from jail for fear of catching COVID-19. He is currently waiting trial on charges of rape and child pornography.

 John Jackson seeks release, citing COVID-19  Federal Bureau of Prisons

[CW: This story includes details of a suspected rape of a minor]

John Jackson, 30, a pro boxer who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2008 Summer Olympics, is currently incarcerated at the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center in Puerto Rico. He is awaiting trial on charges of raping a 15-year-old. Days ago Jackson asked the court to release him from jail over fears he might contract COVID-19 (per Virgin Islands Daily News).

Assistant Federal Public Defender Kia Sears told the court that Jackson, “faces an unacceptably high risk on a daily basis of contracting a COVID-19 infection that would result in adverse health consequences including death because of he suffers from asthma.”

Jackson, the son of former WBC middleweight champion Julian Jackson, has been held without bond for 14 months. He was arrested in February after a father of a 15-year-old girl told authorities that Jackson had plied his daughter with alcohol and marijuana brownies before raping her.

Jackson was initially released on a $75,000 bond and ordered not to have any contact with the reported victim in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Rainwater said that Jackson violated the terms of his release by calling the victim and urging them to drop the charges against him.

He was rearrested after this and also charged with federal child pornography after investigators discovered a video allegedly showing the abuse of the victim in this case. Since Jackson’s arrest, two more individuals have accused Jackson of assaulting them.

Jackson is currently facing 11 criminal charges, including first-degree rape, five counts of aggravated second-degree rape, two counts of production of child pornography and three counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity.

Jackson’s attorney argued that their client should be released due to a need to reduce general jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rainwater agreed that jail populations need to be reduced, but stopped short of agreeing that Jackson should be freed as a result.

“This can be achieved through the release of other individuals, not those who are charged with numerous sex crimes, including many different offense dates, and involving multiple minor victims,” said Rainwater.

Rainwater also argued that asthma was not a sufficient reason for an inmate to be released. The prosecutor also said that, to date, there are no known COVID-19 infections in the Guaynabo facility.

Survivors of sexual assault can find support via the following organizations:

US - Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also has an online chat service.

Love is Respect, 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached via online chat or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.

End Rape on Campus (EROC), 1-424-777-EROC (3762).

Canada - Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 1-877-232-2610.

UK - UK Says No More.

Rest of the World - International Rape Crisis Hotlines.