The parents, both 36, are charged with child molestation and pandering, Dodge County sheriff's Capt. Tony Winborn said. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse and is not identifying the parents to protect the teen.
"I've seen some terrible crimes committed against children but never to this extent," Winborn said. "There's no rhyme or reason to it and this girl and this family are forever messed up."
The couple bought a minivan from a used car dealership in Eastman, about 140 miles southeast of Atlanta, in March 2008 but has not made a single payment on it, Winborn said. They made their daughter perform sex acts on the dealership's manager in lieu of making the $281 monthly payments on their minivan, he said.
The dealership manager, 66-year-old Robert Wayne Bearden, who goes by his middle name, was charged with child molestation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Bearden was arrested Friday and the couple was arrested Monday. All three remained in jail Wednesday awaiting a bond hearing, Winborn said, adding that he didn't know whether any of them has a lawyer. He declined to say where they are jailed, for their safety.
The investigation is ongoing and it appears the parents may have offered sex with their daughter to as many as six other adults in exchange for money and drugs, he said.
"There's a history of drug use and abuse within the family," Winborn said. "It's our understanding that the child was sold out by her parents for drugs and money."
The Dodge County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the case by the state's Division of Family and Children Services in July, Winborn said. The daughter, who has since turned 15, was placed in state custody at that time because of allegations that the father had sexually abused family members. The girl is now in foster case in another county, Winborn said.
To protect her parents, the girl initially denied that anything had happened, Winborn said. That's one reason the arrests weren't made until now. But over time, both the girl and the mother made statements to investigators that led to search warrants being issued for Bearden's home and business. Investigators found nude photos of the girl in both places, he said.
Bearden's brother, Wendell Bearden, owns the car lot his brother managed and said he was shocked to hear the allegations.
"He worked every day, went to church on Sunday," Bearden said. "I've experienced every emotion you can imagine over the last four days, from anger to sadness to pity."
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