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Ohio parents of 19 children are charged after daughter who escaped the family reported sexual abuse

An Ohio couple and two of their 19 children, who are adults, have been charged after their daughter who escaped the family came forward with a string of allegations against them.  

Robert Bellar, 54 and his wife Deborah Bellar, 49, face charges in connection with an ongoing sexual abuse investigation concerning their children. Two of their sons Jonathan Levi Bellar, 26, and Josiah Bellar, 24, have also been charged. 

That came after one of Robert and Deborah’s daughters told The Athens Messenger she was forced to attend a ‘cult’ church run by her uncle, James Bellar, who would tell them their siblings would have to have children with one another in order to prepare for the apocalypse. 

Serah Bellar said: ‘All the kids would have to go, whether they wanted to or not— even if you were sick, you had to go, it didn’t matter.

‘Anytime he’d say anything, I’d just kind of repeat it in my head, like, how messed up it kind of sounded. He’d always talk about the end of the world and how you’d reproduce with your siblings.’ 

That uncle denied the claims in a statement to Law and Crime, calling it a ‘complete lie’. James Bellar said: ‘I am a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and stand as witness to the Truth. How people react to that is on them.’

DailyMail.com has contacted the Waverly-based Dove Outreach church for comment. 

Deborah Bellar

Robert Bellar, 54 left, and his wife Deborah Bellar, 49, right, face charges in connection with an ongoing sexual abuse investigation concerning their children

Jonathan Bellar

Josiah Bellar

Two of their sons Jonathan Levi Bellar, 26, left, and Josiah Bellar, 24, right, have been charged

Serah had been missing since April last year after escaping the alleged abuse; after turning 18-years-old she then posted to Facebook under a fake name detailing all of her allegations. 

They center on incidents said to have occurred between 2008 and 2016. Child services are said to have received reports but no formal action was taken. 

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said: ‘There was an absolute systematic failure in handling these accusations. 

‘Serah was turned away by authorities every time she tried to report this abuse.’

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Liz Pepper accused her mother Deborah of ‘refusal to accept the fact that there was sexual abuse going on in the home and the conspiracy she then entered into to conceal that’.

She said she ‘has concealed witnesses…tampered with evidence and…continues a conspiracy to hide sexual abuse that has occurred in her home’. 

Serah Bellar says she was forced to attend a 'cult' church run by her uncle, James Bellar

Serah Bellar says she was forced to attend a ‘cult’ church run by her uncle, James Bellar

Robert and Deborah are believed to have 18 biological children and one adopted child. 

They have each been charged with one count of engaging in corrupt activity, and two counts of endangering children, according to Athens County Prosecutor

The couple have each pleaded not guilty and were given $1 million bonds.  

Jonathan Levi Bellar is charged with gross sexual imposition. He is being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Josiah Bellar is charged with three counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition. He is yet to be arraigned. 

Separately, Athens County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jimmy Childs has also been charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. 

He is accused of deleting evidence of a phone call he had with Robert Bellar during the investigation. 

Robert and Deborah, left, are believed to have 18 biological children and one adopted. They have each been charged with a count of engaging in corrupt activity, and two counts of endangering children, according to Athens County Prosecutor . The couple have each pleaded not guilty and were given $1 million bonds

Robert and Deborah, left, are believed to have 18 biological children and one adopted. They have each been charged with a count of engaging in corrupt activity, and two counts of endangering children, according to Athens County Prosecutor . The couple have each pleaded not guilty and were given $1 million bonds


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