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WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2007
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Runaway teen turns police on alleged abuser in Decatur

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com · 340-2355

FALKVILLE — A runaway teen turned the authorities on her alleged abuser, who is now in jail on charges of molesting her as a child, Chief Deputy Mike Corley of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

After a grand jury looked at what investigators dug up during an investigation into accusations by the teen, it decided Melvin Oneal Mears, 55, should face charges of sexual abuse — again.

Corley said the 17-year-old ran away from the residence she shared with Mears and told authorities about him living there.

Mears had previously been convicted of abusing the girl when she was younger, and the terms of his probation prohibited him from living with her, Corley said.

Corley said Mears was also not registered to live at 489 Mill Creek Road, Falkville, where deputies found him.

Investigators charged Mears with failing to register and living with a minor.

“When all this went to the grand jury, we also presented evidence and statements she (the runaway teen) had made,” Corley said.

The grand jury indicted Mears on a new charge of first-degree sexual abuse of a child under 12 based on misconduct that took place years ago, Corley said.

“The only way it came to light was she ran away from home,” Corley said. “It’s been ongoing this whole time, probably.”

The investigation also uncovered that Mears’ stepson, Kelley Reno Harville, 27, who is also a convicted sex offender, had also violated registration requirements by moving to Cullman County, Corley said.

Mears remained in Morgan County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $25,000 bond.

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