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Texas mom gets 30 years for allowing 13-year-old daughter to marry 47-year-old man

A 43-year-old mother was found guilty of letting her teen daughter marry an older man because it was reportedly a part of her religious beliefs.

Cherry Payton was convicted of sexual abuse of a child continuous: victim under 14 on April 29 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

According to reports, in 2017, a 14-year-old girl went to her doctor and said "she was married and sexually active." The female reportedly said she had been married since she was 13. Child Protective Services called the Sheriff’s Office on June 5, 2017, to report a possible aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Days later, on June 19, the girl’s "husband," 47-year-old Steven Carty, was arrested. Two days later, Payton was taken into custody.

Payton was at the doctor’s appointment with her daughter when she spoke about Carty. She reportedly said the daughter had her consent to marry. Sheriff’s Office detectives reportedly did not find any marriage records. Payton and the victim, however, were deemed married based on their Hebrew Israelites faith.

According to KPRC, prosecutors argued at the trial that Payton also sexually abused her daughter.

Carty pleaded guilty in February to aggravated sexual assault of a child and sexual assault of a child, KPRC says. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault and 20 years for sexual assault. The two terms will run concurrently.

Lead prosecutor Charann Thompson said at Carty's trial, "In Texas, when a 47 year-old man engages in sexual acts with a 13 year-old, it’s a crime, even if he insists on calling it a covenant. This case was about getting justice for a child who was convinced that the abuse she endured was her religious obligation. The defendant wanted to make this case about his religious beliefs and that was never the issue."


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