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Buford couple charged with child molestation

DATE: 11-26-1997
PUBLICATION: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
SECTION: Newspapers_&_Newswires

A Buford couple who coordinated youth activities at a local church were arrested Tuesday and charged with numerous counts of child molestation for allegedly engaging in illicit sex acts with a 14-year-old girl whom they had met through the church, authorities said.

Warrants for the arrests of Marcus Ray Bellew and Janice Bellew, both 21, allege the couple had engaged in a kind of menage a trois with the teenager on several occasions dating back to July. They rented rooms at the Amerisuites Hotel in Duluth and the Howard Johnson hotel in Suwanee, where they took the girl for nights of sex, authorities said. Other incidents occurred at the couple's home on Springlake Circle and at East Bank Park near Lake Lanier, police said.

The warrants say the couple fondled the 14-year-old, performed oral sex with her and had sexual intercourse while she watched. In addition, Mr. Bellew is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with the girl, police said.

The Bellews are each charged with 21 counts of aggravated child molestation and child molestation, authorities said.

Gwinnett County police declined to say how they discovered the crimes but said the Bellews apparently met the 14-year-old through the Mount Hermas Church of God, where they helped coordinate youth activities.

"They met her there and struck up some kind of relationship," said Gwinnett County police public information officer Sgt. Jeff Sligar.

Marcus Ray Bellew works part time at Crystal Computer Corp., a computer software business in Buford. Chief Executive Officer John Shoemaker said Bellew came to him in August wanting a part-time job because he said he was attending classes at the University of Georgia.

Bellew later told his employer that he had dropped out of school. Shoemaker said Bellew called two weeks ago to say he needed a few days off because his grandmother was sick. He has not seen him since.

Shoemaker said he learned about the charges against Bellew on Tuesday when sheriff's deputies appeared at the business with warrants for his arrest.

"We were surprised, of course, but you never know these days," Shoemaker said. A first appearance in court for the Bellews has not been scheduled.

Copyright 2003 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution