A father has been sentenced to at least four months in jail after forcing his pregnant 14-year-old daughter to marry the 24-year-old man who raped her.
The man, from Idaho, took his daughter and her attacker more than 1,000 miles to Missouri, where minors under 15 are allowed to marry with parental consent in “special circumstances”, such as being pregnant.
“If you get them pregnant then you marry them,” the father told the judge during the hearing, according to local media reports.
The attacker, who is now 25, pleaded guilty to a rape charge in April, which was reduced to statutory rape during the trial.
He is serving a 15-year prison sentence, with sex offender treatment and substance abuse treatment.
The father’s lawyer told the court his client may have had a “religious motivation” to impose the marriage after she fell pregnant.
The teenage girl is believed to have miscarried.
“[The victim] told me herself that her father asked her several times during the trip to Missouri, and even the day of the marriage, if it was something she wanted to do,” the lawyer said.
The father was accused of having “harboured and protected” a criminal by allowing him to live with his teenage daughter.
“I love my daughter very much and I would never do anything to intentionally harm her or put her in harm’s way,” he said in court, according to KPLR.
“I made the wrong decision, and I made that decision in duress.”
He has been ordered to serve a suspended prison sentence of four years, and 120 days in a county jail.
“While you spend those 120 day in jail, perhaps you will think about the 120 days your daughter was in a vile farce of a marriage to a rapist,” the judge said.
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