ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) — A husband and wife from Athens are heading to prison after pleading guilty Thursday to charges related to child sex abuse.
Robert Bellar, 55, and Deborah Bellar, 50, pleaded guilty to two felony charges each: engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and endangering children, according to a news release from the Athens County Prosecuting Attorney.
A judge sentenced Deborah to four years in prison and Robert to three years in prison, the release said.
An investigation into the couple began when a missing child resurfaced on Facebook under a false name, posting details of allegations against the Bellar family, including sexual assault, that occurred from 2008 to 2016, the prosecuting attorney’s office said.
“At every step of this investigation, adults who have committed crimes against children have been arrested and charged,” Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller J. Blackburn said. “Now, the two whose primary responsibility was protecting the two victims of abuse are headed to prison.”
Two of the Bellars’ 18 children, Josiah and Jonathan, have also been charged in relation to the investigation.
Josiah Bellar, 24, pleaded guilty to felonious assault and child endangerment charges in November 2021, while Jonathan Bellar, 27, pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition at his last court date in June 2021.
Josiah was sentenced to five years of community control with a four-year prison sentenced if he were to reoffend, the prosecutor’s office said.
The case against Jonathan Bellar — who is charged with gross sexual imposition — remains pending, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The investigation also led to a guilty plea from former Athens County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jimmy Childs, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in July after deleting records and failing to inform his supervisor that he received a call from Robert Bellar, the release said.