UPDATE 4/6/23: Atherton had two charges dropped from his case: two counts of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. His remaining charges are two counts of first-degree statutory rape with a person under 14. Atherton’s case has been moved from Douglas County to Texas County.

Blair’s pretrial conference in federal court scheduled for today has been canceled. He now has a jury trial scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 17.

Ross’ trial is still scheduled for Dec. 11-14. She has a pretrial conference scheduled for Nov. 8.

UPDATE 3/23/23: AVA, Mo. — An Ava woman charged with multiple counts of statutory rape, statutory sodomy and sex trafficking is to stand trial in December.

Online court records indicate Shawna Ross, 49, is to go on trial Dec. 11-14 after a decision in May as to the best venue for the proceedings.

Ross is accused of allowing or facilitating sexual activity between two minor girls and two men also charged in connection with her case.

Robert Atherton is charged with statutory rape, statutory sodomy and sex trafficking. His case has been moved to Texas County for a change of venue.

Harold Blair, 66, is accused of multiple child sex abuse counts. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in February on charges of using two minor girls to produce child pornography. He is to appear in federal court in Springfield on April 6.

Original article, published Feb. 1, 2023:

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Mo. – A woman from Ava, Mo has been arrested for several counts of child sex crimes.

According to court documents, 49-year-old Shawna Ross was arrested and charged with two counts of statutory rape of a person under 14 years old, two counts of statutory sodomy of a person under 14 years old, and two counts of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

The probable cause statement explained that one of the victims was interviewed by a Homeland Security Forensic Specialist on December 28, 2022.

When asked if she knew why she was being interviewed, the victim replied that she believed the interview to be about Shawna Ross, Robert Atherton, and Harold Blair, known to her as “Rusty.”

She clarified that she believed the interview to be about “things that should not have happened.”

During the interview, the victim expressed that she remembered “bits and pieces” of what had happened to her because she was very young when it began.

She said she was probably 3 or 3 and a half years old the first time she remembered a woman introducing her to how to “make her father happy.”

Ross admitted during an interview with a detective that she knew an arrangement between Blair and Atherton had been made for a second victim to live with “Rusty” in exchange for sexual acts.

Ross also said she had assumed the first victim was being sexually assaulted by Atherton and Blair but did not have proof.

Atherton and Blair are still at large, according to court documents.

Ross’ bond is set at $100,000.