TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A request from Rosie O'Donnell's teenage daughter to lift a no-contact order with the man accused of sending her obscene images was lifted Friday by a New Jersey judge.
The judge agreed to lift the order barring contact between Chelsea O'Donnell and 25-year-old Steven Sheerer, according to a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
Chelsea O'Donnell was 17 when Sheerer was arrested last month; she now is 18.
Superior Court Judge Wendel Daniels, in Toms River, also reduced Sheerer's bail to $10,000 with an option to pay 10 percent. It was previously set at $40,000 with no 10 percent option.
A representative for the teenager's comedian mother didn't immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Sheerer's attorney Robert Tarver said in a telephone interview Friday that the relationship between Sheerer and Chelsea O'Donnell was consensual and began on the dating website Tinder where she identified herself as 19. Tarver said his client did not know she was 17 until after the images were sent.
"She came to me on her own," Tarver said in reference to Chelsea O'Donnell's request that the judge lift the order. "She wants to make things right."
Tarver said Sheerer has pleaded not guilty.
Sheerer was arrested at his Barnegat home and is accused of having inappropriate online communications with Chelsea O'Donnell. She was found at his home Aug. 18, hours after her mother posted a statement online saying she left home in South Nyack, New York, a week earlier.
Authorities say police went to the New Jersey home and the person answering the door initially did not want to reveal the teenager's presence. Police say they told the occupant they would not leave until she came out. Chelsea O'Donnell then appeared and willingly left with police.
Sheerer's arrest came after authorities obtained Chelsea O'Donnell's cellphone with her mother's consent, prosecutors say, and they found "inappropriate communications" over several weeks between Sheerer and the teenager. Authorities also seized a computer and other digital equipment at Sheerer's home when they executed a search warrant.
Court records show Sheerer pleaded guilty to drug offences in separate cases in 2012 and 2013. In each case, he was sentenced to two years' probation.