After a Texas teen girl said she was married to a much older man, both the girl’s mother and her “husband” were arrested. According to KTRK and CNN, Steven Carty, 47, persuaded a 14-year-old girl that the two were married.
The girl's mother, 39-year-old Cherry Jamilla Payton, was seemingly okay with the arrangement. The three lived in the same home together.
"She knew that these two were sexually active with each other," said Dawn Welch, the sheriff's office special victims detective.
Payton is accused of child endangerment through parental negligence. Carty is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to CNN. Both said the marriage was part of their cultural belief system. They claim to be Hebrew Israelites.
Authorities said there is no marriage license filed between the girl and Carty. They found out about the abuse when the girl visited a doctor and them them she was married. The girl said she wed Carty when she was 13, according to ABC13. That is illegal under Texas law, even with the consent of a parent and a judge.
[ Fort Bend Sheriff's Office]