Jackson worked at Vera House as a victim advocate from October 2020 until August 1, when Jackson and Vera House agreed to part ways after more information regarding his past became publicly known. Not only was Jackson convicted in 2000, but he was also convicted again in 2016 for failing to register as a sex offender. Syracuse.com also reports that Johnson served time in a New York state prison for perjury, though when he committed the offense and when he served time are both unknown.
Jackson was also arrested on July 31 of this year for allegedly stealing copper wire and scrap metal from a business. He was scheduled to appear in court on August 25, but it is unclear whether he made the scheduled appearance.
Vera House did not require Jackson to disclose any of his criminal convictions to clients.
According to a statement from Vera House, executive director Randi Bregman "was aware of Jackson’s 2000 conviction in Florida and issues relating to his failing to update his address with the Sex Offender Registry," but was not aware of "of Jackson’s other convictions," which likely would have dissuaded her from hiring him.
The statement likewise says that Vera House implemented "safeguards" to protect clients and prevent Jackson from interacting with minors, as required by state and federal law, but that at some point during his employment, those safeguards may have been breached.
The statement says that "Mr. Jackson may have broken the terms of his employment and had in-person contact at a local hospital with a 17-year-old, their mother, and nurse in December of 2021."
However, the state of New York alleges that Jackson twice had contact with minors during his employment, and a tip from a whistleblower indicates that Jackson may have routinely been in contact with minors as part of his employment.
A letter from the whistleblower, who was supposedly once a resident supervisor for Vera House, states that Jackson "picked up shifts" at the Vera House shelter on multiple occasions, "especially during Covid," which, if true, would almost assuredly place Jackson in contact with minors. The shelter provides temporary housing for both "individuals and families in crisis" for up to three months, according to the organization website. The website also discusses groups and activities at the shelter designed especially for children.
The whistleblower likewise states that Jackson was listed among those "on the call-out schedule" for area hospitals treating victims of sexual assault. According to the whistleblower's letter, those "on the call-out schedule" are often placed "in the room with victims receiving a forensic rape exams (sic)."
After Jackson left Vera House at the beginning of the month, the organization vowed never to hire another sex offender again. However, after consulting with experts, organization leaders determined that that policy wasn't legal and instead promised "that individuals with sex offenses will not work in positions that have direct contact with the people we serve."
Syracuse.com reports that because Jackson was allegedly in contact with minors while discharging his duties, Vera House must repay the state of New York for the cost of his employment, $64,537, including salary and benefits. There is also a possibility that Vera House will have to return a portion of the $1.14 million it received in federal funding because of Jackson.