Police: Rock Hill couple charged in boy’s sexual abuse

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comMay 12, 2013 

— Police arrested a Rock Hill couple last week after a 9-year-old boy told them of instances of sexual and physical abuse, and said they gave him alcohol and tried to rape him while he was in their care.

In August last year, police met with a woman, 48, who reported that a boy, 9, was living in poor conditions at a South Confederate Avenue home, according to a Rock Hill police report. The woman said Robert Belton, 48, and his girlfriend, Sherri Osborne, 40, were responsible for caring for the boy, but made him commit sexual acts.

Police began investigating and, weeks later, had the boy forensically examined at Safe Passage, a shelter for battered women and children in Rock Hill. Belton had taken him to the interview on a motorcycle after he drank a King Cobra beer, reports state.

Belton was charged with driving under suspension, but not with driving under the influence “due to multiple legal issues,” police said. Those issues were not disclosed by officials.

The boy was placed in emergency protective custody, while authorities arrested Belton. The York County Department of Social Services placed the boy with his aunt and uncle.

While living with his relatives, the boy reportedly disclosed that both Belton and Osborne sexually abused him. Three months later, the boy was interviewed at Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault, where he disclosed that Belton tried to rape him and a friend who was spending the night at the home, according to police documents.

He also said Belton and Osborne used a “white powdery substance” they would “sniff up their noses,” the reports show. He added that Belton gave him beer in a McDonald’s cup and told him it was fruit punch. He said Osborne walked naked into his bedroom one night and allegedly chased one of the boy’s friends in their yard while she was nude.

After further investigation, police issued warrants for Belton and Osborne earlier this month. Efforts to find the two at their listed address was initially unsuccessful and they were entered into a federal crime storehouse as wanted persons.

Last Wednesday, police spoke with Belton’s brother, who took officers to a Keels Avenue home, police reported. When officers knocked on the door, Belton answered.

Police placed Belton and Osborne, who was also at the home, under arrest, charging them both with third-degree criminal sexual conduct of a minor and unlawful neglect of a child.

Belton is held at the York County Detention Center on a $200,000 bond. Osborne, held at the jail on a $300,000 bond, also was charged with indecent exposure.