ELKINS, W.Va. – Following the arrest of an Elkins man earlier this week on charges that he sexually abused and assaulted children in his care, his wife is now also facing charges.
The arrest of Rosemary McClearen, 37, of Elkins, also stems from a February incident when the Elkins Police Department was called to a store for a report of a young girl asking customers to buy her food.
At the store, an officer found a 10-year-old girl dressed in pants and a long-sleeved shirt, but not dressed warmly enough for the single-digit temperatures that day, according to court documents. The girl also had a short hair cut, like a boy would have, the officer said.
The girl told the officer that she had been walking around since the night before and had become so hungry that she “fought” a dog for its food and had been bitten in the process, McClearen’s criminal complaint described. The officer noticed abrasions and marks on the child’s arms that appeared to be older than the timeframe the girl described, he said.
During an ensuing investigation, officers learned there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse and assault, and child neglect and abuse, from several children against McClearen and Luis Torres-Serrano, the complaint said.
Police then executed a search warrant on the couple’s First Street home and found that the pantry and other rooms were padlocked. Officers also searched the attic “bedroom” of several of the girls and found that the floor was covered in tar paper, and the ceiling was open to the roof, with no insulation. The search also led to DNA evidence of the sexual abuse and assaults, all according to court documents.
The children also told police that Torres-Serrano would discipline the younger children, after accidents, causing them to scream loudly, which McClearen ignored, they said.
Police were also told that McClearen would cut the girls’ hair short and dress them in oversized male clothing, in an attempt to make them less desirable to Torres-Serrano, documents said.
McClearen is charged with child neglect resulting in injury and child neglect creating risk of injury. She is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail, with bail set at $50,000, along with Torres-Serrano, whose bail is set at $210,000.
***CLARIFICATION: Our original story referred to McClearen as the “foster mother” of the children. That is how she is referenced in court documents filed by the Elkins Police Department. However, a spokesperson from the WV DHHR issued a statement that neither the adults, nor the children are a part of the foster care system.