Pastor James Jackson was once viewed as an upstanding member of the Palm Beach, Florida community. In 1999, Jackson and his wife, Valerie Jackson, founded Positive Habitat Aspiring Teens (P.H.A.T.) as a way for teenagers to express themselves and transition into adulthood.
However, the Jackson’s are being accused of using their organization as a way to take advantage of the teens who they were suppose to help. According to reports by CBS 12 in Palm Beach, a 15-year-old girl went to authorities and told them about years of sexual abuse by the Jacksons.
The girl said the abuse began when she was 11-years-old. James, 47, groomed the girl by showing her films with sexual content. The pastor eventually showed the girl his penis. While teaching the girl how to use a condom, he made her perform oral sex on him for the first time.
The girl’s older sister said she went through a similar form of sexual abuse starting when she was 17. Now 22, the victim’s older sister said James would make her take baths with him and they had sex daily. Moreover, the girls said that James’ wife, Valerie, knew that the abuse was occurring and encouraged the activities. Valerie allegedly taught the girls how to keep James aroused.
The community was shocked by the allegations considering that the Jackson’s organization, P.H.A.T., had gained prominence. They received a $10,000 grant from Nonprofits First. Additionally, several of their student were sponsored by NBA legend Alonzo Mourning to be guests at Zo’s Summer Groove. And, the organization was recognized by the city’s mayor with some students receiving tickets to the Orange Bowl.
But, the Jacksons are now facing years behind bars if the allegations are found to be true. James is facing charges which include sexual battery of a minor, causing a person under 18 to have contact with bodily fluid, possessing photos of a sexual performance of a child, selling obscene material of a minor.
Valerie, 46, is facing lewd act of molestation of a minor and child neglect without causing harm.