Steven Sheerer, the 25-year-old man linked to the disappearance of Rosie O’Donnell’s 17-year-old daughter Chelsea, was officially charged with endangering the welfare of a minor on Monday.
Sheerer was seen by Judge Joseph Foster of the Superior Court of Ocean County, New Jersey, via video conference and was charged with third-degree distribution of obscenity to a minor and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
The charge of distribution of obscenity to a minor allegedly stems from a nude picture that Sheerer reportedly sent to Chelsea in their online communication before she ran away from home in mid-August.
Sheerer remains in jail and his bail is still at $40,000, but his personal attorney, Robert Tarver, has requested a hearing to lower that amount and prove his client is not a flight risk.
"We have and will present evidence that will show he is not guilty of endangering the welfare of a child," Tarver told ET of his client.
Sheerer’s attorney would not comment on the charge of distributing an obscene photo to a minor, as he said his team does not have all of the prosecution’s alleged evidence yet.
"Their main charge or suggestion is that somehow he is a predator and he stalked out this woman," Tarver said. "Nothing can be further from the truth and we intend to aggressively retract those charges."
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said the phone of the 17-year-old victim in the case, who was not directly named due to her age, was retrieved with consent from her mother by the High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU) on Friday. Police agencies also seized a computer and additional digital equipment from Sheerer's house in Barneget, a small town in the Jersey Shore area.
"Examination of the phone by the HTCU revealed evidence of inappropriate communications over the last several weeks between Sheerer and the minor," Coronato's office said in a statement.
Sheerer previously served 53 days in jail and two years probation in 2013 after being charged with third-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, third-degree possession of heroin, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia. ET can confirm he pleaded guilty to possession of heroin in 2012, serving two years' concurrent probation.