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Woman Accused Of Forcing Daughter To Marry Man Over Three Times Her Age

You often hear horrific stories coming out of third-world nations about young children being forced into arranged marriages at an early age. Most Americans feel relieved that these archaic practices have been abolished, but they would be mistaken.

Unfortunately, these kinds of outdated practices still go on, even on U.S. soil. One case recently emerged in Texas.

A Texas mother was investigated for allegedly making her 13-year-old daughter marry a 47-year-old man. The girl's doctor alerted Child Protective Services when his patient, now 14, told him that she was married and sexually active.

Police were notified by CPS on June 5th and investigated.

The mother and teen were both interviewed by police and professed to be Hebrew Israelite African-Americans. They believe they are descendants of ancient Israelites.

The mother told police that the marriage is in line with their religious and cultural beliefs.

Sheriff Troy Nehls said during a press conference that its a 'very disturbing, disturbing case'. It was not a legal marriage; no forms were filed, and no ceremony held. There was no religious figure or judge who 'married' the couple.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's department said, "It was a cultural thing that she believes she was married."

The founder of the religious movement, who died in 2014, believed that some of the biblical tribe of Judah migrated to West Africa, and their ancestors were later brought to the U.S. as slaves. Ben Ammi Ben Israel founded the religion in the 1960's and meeting places have recently been springing up across Texas.

They adhere to both Jewish and Christian practices. They are not recognized by the Jewish community, and prefer to call themselves 'Black Hebrews' or 'Hebrew Israelites' to make a distinction.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recognized the group as a black supremacist extremist fringe group.

The religion supports girls being married off at an early age, polygamy and refraining from birth control.

Cherry Jamila Payton, the girl's 39-year-old mother, has been arrested and charged with endangering a child by criminal negligence. She's being held on $10,000 bail.

The teen's 'husband', 47-year-old Steven Carty, 47, was also arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

According to the website 'Girls Not Brides', every minute, there are 28 girls under the age of 18 who are married. That amounts to a startling 15 million per year. According to the website, "Child marriage is fueled by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity."

They report that in many nations, parents give daughters away for the dowry, or to have one less mouth to feed. Even when laws are passed to prevent it, these laws are often slow to be enforced due to the fact that it's a cultural norm to marry girls off young.

It's not just a third-world country problem, though. "Child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. Child brides can be found in every region in the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to Europe," says Girls Not Brides.

Source: AOL
Photos: Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Pixabay, 123RF Stock Photo, Allan Swart/123RF Stock Photo, Victor/Flickr

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