KIAH says Cherry Payton, 43, was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison in Fort Bend County for allowing her daughter to marry someone 34 years older. In 2017, the daughter told her doctor that she was sexually active with “her husband” who she told her doctor was 34 years older. Payton allegedly said her daughter was married and had consented to the marriage due to it being part of their “religious beliefs.” KIAH learned that her daughter was married for about a year before she told her doctor what was going on. There were other incidents of suspected sexual abuse between Payton and her daughter.
KPRC-TV says as deputies investigated the claims, they arrested the daughter’s husband, Steven Carty, 47. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Deputies also learned that there was no record of a marriage license in the county which established the marriage was not legal. KPRC-TV says the religion that Payton claimed to be part of the marriage was part of the Hebrew Israelites’ faith. In Texas, the age to get married is 18 but there are exceptions that could allow a minor to marry at the age of 16.
Payton has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child. She faces 30 years in prison. KPRC-TV says the husband, Carty, has received two sentences: 22 years and 20 years for aggravated sexual assault of a child and sexual assault of a child. Both Payton and Carty will be required to register as sex offenders for the remainder of their lives.