A mother and stepfather in Georgia have been indicted in a case of child abuse so severe some prosecutors think it’s a miracle the victim survived.
Rimmon Lewis and his wife, Angela Strothers, are accused of beating, starving and causing mental pain to an unnamed 13-year-old girl who was put in state custody after her school alerted authorities, reported Channel 2 Action News.
One prosecutor involved in the case called this "one of the most severe cases of child abuse" she has seen in quite some time.
Lewis was accused of being the main facilitator of abuse and reportedly would force his stepdaughter to stand barefoot on tin cans while writing out what he called "standards" on a piece of paper.
"Which would be a sentence that he would require her to write, like, ‘I will respect my father,’ 1,000 times. This happened almost on a daily basis," prosecutor Tracie Cason told Channel 2.
Cason also explained the teen was not given food, and when she was fed it was cat food.
"There were times she was only allowed to eat cat food, and there were times she wasn't allowed to eat at all until the defendant decided she could eat," Cason added.
Investigators alleged the teen was also locked in a laundry room for such long periods of time she urinated and defecated on herself.
According to the indictment, Lewis abused the girl "by telling the child to stop stuttering" and "pushing his thumbs into the mouth of (victim) with such force as to split the corners of her mouth and with such severity to leave scarring to both corners of her mouth."
Gwinnett County Police charged Lewis and Strothers each with one count of abuse, but prosecutors say as new details emerged, they realized the girl suffered years of horrific treatment.
"It's amazing to me how this child survived as long as she did," Cason told Channel 2.
Although Strothers didn't inflict any of the abuse reported, she knew of the starvation and beatings of her daughter at the hands of her husband. Investigators also believe she would tell her husband when the girl would not follow his rules.
Records show Lewis negotiated a guilty plea deal in 2014 for charges of abuse against the same girl. He was given credit for time served and put on probation.
(Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)