A former USC football player was arrested and charged in connection with two rapes of female college students in Los Angeles, authorities said this week.
Joshua Fred James Jackson Jr., 21, is facing one felony count of forcible sexual penetration and three felony counts of forcible rape, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
One of the alleged assaults was against a USC student at her apartment in March, prosecutors said. Jackson is also accused of raping a UCLA student in summer 2020 at the suspect’s apartment, authorities said.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday and is due back in court on July 21 when a date for his preliminary hearing could be set, prosecutors said.
“Sexual assault is a heinous crime that cannot be tolerated,” Los Angeles County DA George Gascón said in a statement. “These brave women made the difficult decision to come forward and report their assault, now it’s our turn to ensure that justice is done.”
Jackson is not listed on the current USC football roster, and he last played for the Trojans in fall 2021.
A USC spokesperson said in a statement that Jackson “hasn’t participated in football team activities since before spring break of 2023.”
He graduated with a degree in communications in May, the school spokesperson said Friday, though he still has eligibility to play.
“USC takes all reports of sexual assault extremely seriously,” the university said in a statement Friday. “We have been cooperating with law enforcement authorities in this matter and will continue to do so.”
Jackson reportedly had sought to transfer from USC and continue his football career at another school.
“Mr. Jackson adamantly denies raping either complaining witness in this case, and he adamantly denies being sexually inappropriate in any way with either accuser,” defense lawyer Kerry Lee Armstrong said in a statement Friday. “The interactions between Joshua and both women were 100% consensual, and we look forward to proving his innocence in court.”
Jackson enrolled at USC in spring 2020 as a wide receiver from nearby Narbonne HS and got into four games that fall.
He was switched to the other side of the ball and, as a cornerback in 2021, played in seven games, with nine tackles and an interception against Colorado.
Injuries kept Jackson off the field this past season, but he was expected to “compete for playing time at defensive back as a redshirt junior in 2023,” according to his USC online profile.