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Detective says daughter’s boyfriend, disliked by Atlantic City mayor, recorded abuse in video call

In World
April 16, 2024

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and his wife disapproved of their teenage daughter’s boyfriend, who secretly recorded an incident of Small allegedly physically and verbally assaulting the girl over a video chat, prosecutors said in affidavit.

Small and his wife LaQuetta, Atlantic City’s superintendent of schools, were charged Monday with child endangerment and assault regarding interactions in December and January with their daughter, who is now 16.

The affidavit filed in the case by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office says the girl at one point acknowledged making up the accusations against her parents because she was angry they wouldn’t let her go out with friends.

But in many other sections, the affidavit includes detailed claims by the girl that the abuse was real, and it said she photographed bruises she said were inflicted by her parents and sent them to her boyfriend, who shared them with detectives.

The office of Prosecutor William Reynolds cited evidence including recordings of interactions between the girl and her parents; her statements to police, school personnel, a therapist and state child welfare investigators, and messages she sent to friends asking for help, saying she did not feel safe at home.

The mayor is accused of repeatedly hitting his daughter in the head with a broom until she blacked out, and repeatedly punching her in the legs, court documents say. Her mother is accused of dragging her by her hair, punching her in the chest and face, and hitting her with a belt.

“Mayor Small and Superintendent LaQuetta Small are completely innocent of any wrongdoing and will ultimately be vindicated,” their lawyer Ed Jacobs said in a statement Tuesday. “These complaints focus exclusively on private family matters, basically attempting to second-guess parental decisions.”

He said the Smalls “remain a close and loving and intact family,” adding the mayor intends to continue serving in office.

The affidavit quotes the girl, whose name The Associated Press is not publishing because she is the alleged victim of a crime, as telling child welfare authorities that her parents disapproved of her boyfriend. LaQuetta Small is also quoted as telling the same thing to a therapist who was made available to the girl after she reported abuse to school personnel.

The affidavit was first reported by the web site breakingac.com.

It includes a transcript of dialogue between the Smalls and their daughter that were recorded by cell phones or laptops, apparently without the parents’ knowledge. The prosecutor’s office did not release actual audio or video.

Several recordings involve an incident from Jan. 3 between Marty Small and his daughter, while she was talking to her boyfriend on a video chat.

“I’m scared,” the girl whispers to her boyfriend, according to the transcript.

Using the girl’s name, the mayor says, “Don’t make me hurt you.”

She replies, “Hurt me, that’s all you do!”

The mayor orders his daughter to sit down, and she tells him to stop pushing her.

“I’m gonna hurt you,” he says, threatening to throw her down a staircase. “Tell them. I don’t care. What they gonna do to me? I’ll smack that weave out ya head. Nothing is gonna happen to me!”

The transcript also references an alleged incident on Jan. 7 between the girl and her mother, saying her grandmother witnessed the teen yelling at her mother to get off her and stop hitting her.

“A little punch in the eye ain’t gonna stop her,” the grandmother is quoted as saying.

The affidavit also contains messages from the girl to friends asking if she can stay with them, saying she does not feel safe at home, and that her bags are packed.

“I’ve been mentally, emotionally, verbally and physically abused, and it’s a lot,” she wrote. “I’m overwhelmed and I keep crying every night.”

She sought treatment at a hospital for a head injury three days after her father allegedly hit her with the broom, telling a nurse she had hit her head on a window and lost consciousness, a claim with which her father agreed, according to the affidavit.

But the affidavit also includes quotes from the girl to county detectives and investigators with the state child welfare agency, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, in which she claims to have fabricated the claims against her parents.

In a Jan. 25 interview at Atlantic City High School, the girl told detectives that she “told DCP&P she made the allegations up and she was not physically assaulted,” according to the affidavit.

The girl told detectives she wanted to meet friends at a seafood restaurant a few weeks earlier but her parents would not allow it.

“She stated she made the allegations up because of this and stated no physical abuse occurred,” the affidavit read. The girl “was asked if she was ever hit by her parents and she stated no.”

The Smalls have a May 15 initial court date.

Monday night, he posted a picture of himself with the hashtags “unbothered” and “God got us.”

___

Follow Wayne Parry on X, formerly Twitter, at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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