A few days after Rosie O’Donnell’s 17-year-old daughter, Chelsea, was reported missing and subsequently found by police, the man discovered with her was taken into custody.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the arrest of 25-year-old Steven Sheerer, who was taken from his Village Drive home in Barnegat, New Jersey, on Friday and charged with child endangerment and distribution of obscenity to a minor. He faces up to 10 years in prison (five years for each charge), authorities said.
Coronato’s announcement did not name the victim, but a spokeswoman for O’Donnell said the case involves her daughter.
“He was involved with a minor, and Rosie’s concern has been and always will be the health, safety and well-being of her daughter,” Cindi Berger said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Rosie is profoundly appreciative for the work the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has done and the diligence of the local police.”
O’Donnell reported Chelsea missing on Tuesday, believing her to have run away from their Nyack, New York home a week earlier. She was found hours later in Sheerer’s home, which he shares with his mother. It’s believed the two met online.
After retrieving Chelsea’s phone, High Tech Crime Unit detectives and Barnegat officers found “inappropriate communications over the last several weeks” between the 17-year-old and Sheerer, according to Coronato. On Wednesday, O’Donnell tweeted an article detailing Sheerer’s previous charges for possession of heroin and endangering the welfare of a child. A spokesperson for Barnegat police confirmed to Entertainment Weekly over the phone that “there have been controlled dangerous substance charges in his background.”
Barnegat-Manahawkin Patch: Barnegat Pair Face Drug, Child Endangerment Charges http://t.co/YbxsJeUO7y - STEVE SHEERER
— Rosie (@Rosie) August 19, 2015
Once police located Chelsea, O’Donnell tweeted, “chelsea has been found and is safe in police custody - thank you all for the help and light #missingchildren.”
This post has been updated to accommodate new information.
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