Charles Ramsey, Cleveland neighbor who helped free women, was domestic abuser

Charles Ramsey, the 43-year-old Cleveland man hailed as a hero for helping free three women who police say were held captive for nearly a decade in his neighbor's home, has also been convicted three times of domestic violence.

Ramsey, whose colorful television interviews quickly rocketed him to Internet stardom, was first charged with domestic violence in 1997, according to court records obtained by The Smoking Gun. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was found guilty. While waiting to be sentenced in July 1998, Ramsey was arrested for domestic violence again.

He was ordered to serve six months in jail, placed on five years probation and directed to attend a domestic violence counseling program, the court records show.

Ramsey was arrested again for domestic abuse in 2003, this time sentenced to eight months in prison. Ramsey's wife, Rochelle, with whom he fathered a daughter, subsequently filed for divorce, citing "extreme cruelty." The woman, who is now remarried, told The Smoking Gun that Ramsey "eventually apologized for battering her."

On Monday, Ramsey told a local TV reporter that when he heard Amanda Berry's screams coming from the home, he "figured it was a domestic violence dispute.” Ramsey helped the alleged victim kick open the door, and called 911.

"I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms," Ramsey said. "Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway."

Ariel Castro, 52, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, and charged with kidnap and rape on Tuesday.

"I barbecue with this dude," Ramsey said. "We eat ribs and listen to salsa music."

In an interview with CNN, Ramsey was asked if he would accept a reward for his help in finding the missing women.

"I tell you what you do, give it to them," Ramsey said. "Because if folks been following this case since last night, you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway."