Pastor pleads guilty to sex abuse of former student

Dirk Jackson - Courtesy photo
Dirk Jackson
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Dirk Jackson, formerly a pastor at First Baptist Church on Sidney Avenue, entered a guilty plea to two counts of indecent liberties without forceable compulsion for sexually abusing a student when he was a teacher in 2003 at the now-defunct Manchester Christian Academy.

His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16, and as part of his plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of three years in prison. The standard sentencing range is 31 to 41 months.

Jackson, 33, was arrested in February on two counts of second-degree child rape after the victim, who was 12 when she was abused and now is 21, met up with him by chance at a church event at First Baptist, while he was a pastor there.

Following the event, Jackson sent her a friend request on Facebook, which sparked communication between the two, online and by phone.

She placed one of the calls to Jackson using a digital recording device, and during the conversation he admitted to several elements of the rape she had described to authorities. The phone call was entered as evidence.

The woman claims that Jackson assaulted her when she was in sixth grade, while her classmates were outside at recess and while she was working in a room separated from them.

She said the incidents “had a profoundly negative impact on her life and ability to have healthy relationships,” according to charging documents filed in court.

She decided to report the incidents to police, she said, because she thought Jackson could hurt someone else in his role as a pastor, and she didn’t want anyone else to go through what she did.

Jackson, 33, admitted in the plea agrement that he “knowingly coerced another person to have sexual contact ... when the victim was incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless.”

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