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.  

By Sarah Wynn & Jackie Orozco

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.

$1 million bond for Deborah Bellar

‘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.’

Bond set at $1 million for Athens County mother accused of hiding sexual abuse

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. 

Woman charged in child abuse case faces judge

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.’

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

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

Sgt. Jimmy Frank Childs is accused of deleting a call between Robert Bellar and giving false information to investigators during the investigation surrounding the case regarding Serah Bellar. (Courtesy: Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail)

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

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