A Beaufort apartment complex manager accused of repeatedly raping a tenant over a two-year period has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the case.
Johnnie Jackson, 62, was arrested Monday after turning himself in and charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is free on a $10,000 bond, court records show. As a condition of his bond, Jackson can’t return to the Mossy Oaks Apartment Homes apartments while the woman lives there and can’t be within 1,000 feet of her home or workplace.
Jackson, identified in a Beaufort Police Department report as the apartment manager, is accused of sexually assaulting an apartment resident monthly from September 2015 through November 2017, according to the report.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled Feb. 23, court records show.
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He has been suspended from his job at the property and another community manager will take his place, said Cailin Rogers, a spokeswoman for Dominium. The Minnesota-based affordable housing development and management company manages the Beaufort apartments.
Jackson has worked for Dominium for 22 years, Rogers said.
“We cannot comment on an active police investigation, but the manager has been suspended pending the investigation,” Rogers said.
A phone message for Cory Fleming, the Beaufort attorney listed in court records as Jackson’s attorney, wasn’t returned Friday.
A woman who identified herself as a complex employee declined comment when approached by a reporter Friday morning. A bulletin board in the lobby still listed Jackson as the apartment manager.
Jackson has no prior arrests in the state, according to a S.C. Law Enforcement Division criminal history report. Court records show only numerous traffic tickets before his arrest this month.
There have been no other reports of similar incidents at the property and no additional charges were expected as of Friday, police spokeswoman Sgt. Hope Able said.
The woman, with the help of a representative of the Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs, told police Jackson had routinely sexually assaulted her after knocking on her door and forcing his way in when she answered, the police report said. The woman told police she repeatedly told Jackson she didn’t want anything to do with him and to stop and leave but that he refused.
Phone messages left for Disabilities and Special Needs director Bill Love and residential director Wanda Mayse weren’t returned Friday. The police report didn’t specify why the county agency was involved.
State law defines third-degree criminal sexual conduct as the use of force or coercion during a sexual assault or if the suspect “knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and aggravated force or aggravated coercion was not used to accomplish sexual battery.”
The charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years.
State law says a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is warranted if the act included “aggravated force,” if the assault occurs while the victim is also the victim of another crime such as a kidnapping, robbery, extortion or similar offense, or if the victim is drugged against their will.
Nationwide, there is a low reporting rate and low conviction rate for sexual assault cases, said Sara Barber, executive director of the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults. Unlike television shows depicting assaults in dark alleys, perpetrators are often known to the victim and the person may be hesitant to come forward immediately for fear of not being believed or of what will happen to the person being accused, she said.
“I think it’s important to realize what an ordeal seeking justice is for people,” Barber said, speaking in general about sexual assault cases. “An arrest, a bond hearing — this is just the beginning. And that process can be very re-traumatizing.”
Jay Karr contributed to this report.