Deborah Bellar

Deborah Bellar entering the courtroom, shielding her face. Photo provided by Athens County Prosecutor’s Office

Deborah Bellar, the mother of Serah Bellar, was arraigned Wednesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court under a $1 million bond after pleading not guilty to felonies related to reports of sexual and physical abuse within the Bellar family home.

Bellar, 48, appeared in front of Judge Patrick Lang for the arraignment with appointed attorney Jeremy Roth. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Liz Pepper and First Assistant Prosecutor Meg Saunders represented the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Bellar attempted to shield her face when entering the courtroom, and sat with her eyes closed for the duration of the brief hearing, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

She was charged Tuesday with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony, and two charges of endangering children, both third-degree felonies. The endangering children charges within her indictment list Serah Bellar and another child as victims. 

Pepper requested the million-dollar bond after citing the nature of the charges, asking Lang to take into account the endangering children allegations as the basis of her “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.” Pepper added the state’s case is bolstered by several corroborating statements from family members within the household, the news release said.

Pepper alleged that Bellar has a history of being uncooperative with children services and law enforcement. 

“She has concealed witnesses. She has tampered with evidence and she continues a conspiracy to hide sexual abuse that has occurred in her home,” Pepper alleged of Bellar. 

Pepper alleged that Bellar kept a young child out of school in order to avoid interviews with authorities. Additionally, recorded phone calls to a co-defendant showed Bellar telling them not to answer questions of law enforcement. 

The prosecution also asked that, if bond were posted, Bellar be placed on an ankle monitor and that she also have no contact, direct or indirect with the children or co-defendants. Lang agreed.

Bellar’s pre-trial is scheduled for June 24 at 10 a.m. and a jury trial is set for July 22.

Her husband, Robert Bellar, who was also indicted Tuesday under the same charges, turned himself into authorities Wednesday evening and is expected to be arraigned on Friday.

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