DOUGLAS COUNTY, Mo. — A man was arrested on Feb. 3 and charged with statutory sodomy and statutory rape of a victim under the age of 14.
Robert Atherton was arrested after an investigation into Harold Blair for child pornography led to the arrest of Shawna Ross for 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.
Investigators with the Columbus, Ohio, police department went to the home listed under Atherton’s name but did not initially find him.
Those at the home said they did not know him. A few hours later, investigators returned to the home and arrested Atherton.
Atherton is being held at the Franklin County Corrections Center in Columbus, Ohio, with no bond, awaiting extradition to Douglas County, Missouri.
The Columbus Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, Homeland Security, the Division of Family Services and the Ava Police Department assisted with the case.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said that sex trafficking charges are forthcoming as well, but Atherton has not yet been formally charged with these charges.
Shawna Ross appeared in court on Feb. 7 for an arraignment.