DILLON COUNTY, S.C. — Former Dillon Mayor John Corey Jackson, who was suspended shortly after being sworn in in 2019, pleaded guilty Monday morning and was sentenced in two separate cases.
Jackson, 28, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence and placed on probation for five years after pleading guilty to three counts of communicating obscene messages for incidents involving multiple teenage boys between June 2017 and April 2019. He had been charged with nearly a dozen counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Jackson was also given three years of suspended probation after pleading guilty to two counts of forgery. He was arrested in April by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and accused of submitting multiple pre-approval applications to the Dillon Historic Preservation Committee for $50,000 grants being offered to help local businesses with property repairs that contained forged contractor quotes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for properties he owned on North Railroad Avenue in Dillon.
“No pictures, no evidentiary issues that Rosemary and I were looking forward to challenging, but we could not risk this young man’s future based on the fact that we thought we had a case that we could end up doing something with,” said Gerald Malloy, Jackson’s defense attorney.
Jackson’s plea agreement in the sexual-exploitation case also means he will be placed on South Carolina’s sex offender registry. He was also ordered to have no contact with his victims and to undergo alcohol and drug testing while on probation. His electronic devices will also be subject to search. He could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison on each count.
Jackson was suspended by Gov. Henry McMaster shortly after being sworn in as mayor in 2019 after being being indicted on 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He had been scheduled to go on trial in December but the case was delayed because one of his attorneys is a state senator who was unavailable until after the General Assembly adjourned.
According to arrest warrants from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Jackson offered 10 teenage boys money in return for pictures of their genitals using the social media app Snapchat between June 2017 and April 2019. In some instances, Jackson also sent a minor “sexually explicit nude female photographs,” in addition to money.
While some minors refused Jackson’s overtures, others complied by sending him pictures of exposed private parts they found on the internet, for which they were paid, SLED said in the arrest warrants.
Jackson was just 23 when he was elected to a four-year term in 2019. He took office as Dillon’s youngest mayor. That term ended in December. Tally McCall was sworn in as mayor in April after defeating three other candidates by a wide margin.
Jackson has 10 days to appeal his sentence.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.
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Aundrea Gibbons joined the News13 team in May 2023 after graduating from Clemson University with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and communication. Aundrea is a Marion native and graduated as salutatorian in 2019. Follow Aundrea on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.