Anna Marie Cardwell tells PEOPLE she's "confused" about reports her mother is dating the man she says molested her when she was 8 years old
Anna Marie Cardwell is speaking out about being molested as a child, years before she and her family became the stars of TLC’s hit reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
In an interview with PEOPLE, June Shannon’s oldest daughter, now 20, says registered sex offender Mark McDaniel “would try and touch me and all that stuff” when she was 8 years old and he was dating her mother.
“I’m just confused,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’m hearing one story from Mama and another one from someone else.”
In a recent Facebook post, Shannon denied she and McDaniel (who was released from a Georgia prison in March after serving a 10-year sentence for aggravated child molestation) are currently romantically involved.
And she apparently told her daughter the same thing: “Mama said the story isn’t true and she said she hasn’t seen Mark since he’s been out of jail,” Cardwell says.
“My whole body believes that she is telling the truth,” she continues, “but my mind is going back and forth from – you know, hey, she’s telling the truth or she’s not telling the truth, but most of me believes her.”
Cardwell also says that after McDaniel was arrested, Shannon was skeptical of her story about being molested.
“A week or so after it happened, I talked to Mama and she was upset, crying and saying, ‘I don’t believe you, I don’t believe you, why would you do this to me?’ ” Cardwell says. “And I was like, ‘Mama, he did that to me and I can’t do anything about it. You were never there to see it. You were always at work.’ ”
Cardwell moved in with her grandmother after the molestation, a source told PEOPLE, and only moved back in with Shannon in 2012 shortly before Here Comes Honey Boo Boo‘s premiere. “Me and Mama realized we needed to put this behind us and get our relationship back on track and that’s what we did and that’s what we have been doing,” Cardwell says.
If it’s true that Shannon and McDaniel are together again, Cardwell, who is a mom to 2-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, says, “I would feel hurt. I would not feel betrayed, but I would feel hurt. You know the past should be in the past and it should stay in the past and not come back out.”
But one thing is for sure: “I would not let her see Kaitlyn unless Mark is out of the picture or away because I don’t want him nowhere near my child,” Cardwell says. “Nowhere close to her.”
McDaniel has not responded to requests for comment.
• Reporting by EMILY STROHM