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Atlantic City mayor and his wife accused of abusing teenage daughter

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (D) and his wife, superintendent of the city’s public schools, were accused Monday of physically and emotionally abusing their teenage daughter.

Marty Small, 50, and La’Quetta Small, 47, were each charged with a second-degree count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. The couple abused their 16-year-old daughter multiple times in December and January, including an instance when she was knocked unconscious with a broom, prosecutors said in a news release.

Marty Small directed interview requests to his attorney, Edwin Jacobs Jr., who said in a statement to The Washington Post that the couple is “completely innocent of any wrongdoing and will ultimately be vindicated.” He said Marty Small will continue to serve as mayor.

“These complaints focus exclusively on private family matters, basically attempting to second guess parental decisions of Mayor Small and his wife,” the statement said.

Marty Small began his term in October 2019 after his predecessor, Frank Gilliam Jr., resigned following a guilty plea to stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball team he founded. Marty Small was most recently reelected in November 2021 for a four-year term.

An affidavit filed by the prosecutor’s office Monday includes transcripts of alleged arguments between Marty and La’Quetta Small and their daughter that were captured on an iPad video. The teen was on a video call with her boyfriend on Jan. 3 when her father threatened to “smack that weave” out of her head, the affidavit alleges. When his daughter asked him moments later to stop pushing her, Marty Small said he was going to “slam her down the steps,” the affidavit says.

“Come past this line and I’m gonna grab you by the head and throw you on the ground!” he allegedly told her.

The next day, prosecutors say the daughter wrote in an Instagram message that her dad hurt her because she didn’t want him to drive her to school.

Another video captured an argument between La’Quetta Small and her daughter on Jan. 7, when the girl begged her mother to “get off of” her, the affidavit alleges. La’Quetta Small responded by saying she could touch her daughter “whenever I wanna touch you,” according to the affidavit.

Officials said La’Quetta Small also once dragged her daughter by her hair before striking her with a belt. Her daughter suffered bruising on her legs, chest and shoulders from her interactions with her parents, prosecutors say.

On Jan. 13, prosecutors allege, Marty Small threw his daughter into the shower and choked her before knocking her to the ground with a broom. She went to the hospital three days later with a head injury, the affidavit says, and allegedly told a nurse that she had hit her head on a window — an account Marty Small echoed.

The daughter allegedly told school employees on Jan. 22 that she was experiencing abuse, and staff asked the principal to contact New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency, according to the affidavit. But the school never notified the division, prosecutors said in a news release last month.

A medical facility where the teen was participating in therapy ultimately told the state, which directed prosecutors to get involved.

On March 28, investigators searched the Smalls’ home, the affidavit says. The same day, prosecutors accused Atlantic City High School’s principal, who served as Marty Small’s campaign manager in 2021, of failing to report a child abuse allegation to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Marty Small said at a news conference April 1 that although prosecutors seized electronic devices from his home, there was “no corruption.” He added that the investigation was related to a “family matter” and that his family was in therapy.

“We have done nothing wrong,” he said at the time.

The charges filed against Marty Small on Monday include aggravated assault, terroristic threats and simple assault in addition to the count for endangering the welfare of a child. La’Quetta Small also faces three counts of simple assault.

While searching the family’s house last month, prosecutors said they found a letter in the daughter’s room that said, “Getting called dumb, crazy, mental and sick hurts but that’s okay, I guess I’m the biggest disappointment for defending myself.”

Marty and La’Quetta Small are scheduled to appear in court next month.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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