A University of Florida law professor was arrested Tuesday night after police believe he punched a girl.
Joseph Jackson, 59, was charged with child abuse, a third-degree felony, according to Alachua County Jail records.
Jackson told police he swung at the victim, a girl in her early teens, with a closed fist during an argument, according to an arrest report. He missed and then swung again, striking her in the face.
Jackson also admitted to punching the girl in the back as she ran away from him, the report said.
While there was no apparent injury, it is likely the girl would have been injured if she hadn’t run away, according to the report.
Jackson has been put on paid leave by UF, university spokeswoman Janine Sikes said.
He has been a professor there since 1995, according to his bio on the UF Levin College on Law website. He is also an associate director of the Center of Children and Families and has served as an attorney for Grace Marketplace. In 2011, he published an article about children’s rights.
Jackson is expected to be released this afternoon, said Janet Brasington of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
This story has been updated.