A New Jersey man who police say was housing Rosie O'Donnell's missing teenage daughter was arrested and charged over the weekend with endangering the welfare of a child and distribution of obscenity to a minor.
Chelsea O'Donnell, 17, was found at the home of Steven Sheerer, 25, in Barnegat, N.J., more than 100 miles from O'Donnell's home in Nyack, New York, on Aug. 18 after going missing for a week. Chelsea was found in Sheerer's attic after he initially denied that she was in his home, according to police.
Rosie O'Donnell also turned Chelsea's cell phone over to police, who say they found "evidence of inappropriate communications over the last several weeks between Sheerer and the minor." In her plea to locate Chelsea while she was missing, O'Donnell said she suffers from mental illness and had not been taking her medication.
"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," O'Donnell spokeswoman Cindi Berger told The Associated Press. "Rosie is profoundly appreciative for the work the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has done and the diligence of the local police."
This is not Sheerer's first run-in with the law. In 2012, he was found in a car with heroin paraphernalia along with a woman and her two young children and faced drug and child endangerment charges. If he is convicted of the latest charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison, five for each charge. He is expected to be arraigned this week and has been instructed not to contact the O'Donnell family.
His arrest was part of a trying weekend for the O'Donnells, as Rosie's father, Edward O'Donnell, died on Sunday at 81 years old after battling cancer.