Military child abuse case raises complex sentencing issues

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Military child abuse case raises complex sentencing issues
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2014 file photo, John Jackson and his wife, Carolyn, leave the Federal Courthouse in Newark, N.J., after opening arguments in their trial on charges of child abuse. The former military couple, convicted in July of 2015 of systematically abusing their foster children, will find out on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, if their sentences will be increased. (Chris Pedota/The Record via AP, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former military couple convicted of abusing their foster children over several years will find out this week if their sentences will be increased.

In a rare ruling, a federal appeals court concluded the sentences were too lenient and sent the case back for resentencing.

Former Army Maj. John Jackson and his wife, Carolyn Jackson, were convicted on multiple counts of child endangerment in 2015.

An older sibling testified the children were beaten regularly and were forced to eat hot pepper flakes as punishment.

Prosecutors presented evidence the children suffered broken bones and other serious health problems and were severely underweight when they were removed from the family home.

Prosecutors had sought sentences of 15 to 19 years, but the judge sentenced the couple to probation and two years, respectively.