- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It’s been a whirlwind two days for Cleveland’s Charles Ramsey, who helped free three women from a decade of captivity on Monday night.

The outspoken, boisterous food service worker has become a YouTube sensation; his interview with a local ABC television station has nearly 1.7 million views. He even has his face emblazoned on “Cleveland Hero” T-shirts, designed by his employer, the downtown restaurant Hodge’s.

But with his new celebrity comes revelations about his personal life. Thesmokinggun.com reported Wednesday afternoon that Mr. Ramsey has been convicted three times of domestic violence and spent time in prison for those offenses, along with separate stints for drug abuse and other crimes, according to court records obtained by thesmokinggun.com.

The website also reported that Mr. Ramsey has apologized to his ex-wife, Rochelle, for the domestic abuse incidents, though she also says he’s failed to pay child support.

His criminal history may or may not be known by those now praising him for his actions on Monday.

His rise to stardom began almost immediately after helping Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus and Michelle Knight escape their hellish imprisonment allegedly at the hands of three brothers.

SEE ALSO: Cleveland 911 dispatcher’s handling of Berry phone call under review

He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night that he was at home eating a meal from McDonald’s when he heard Ms. Berry scream.

“This girl screamed like a car had hit a kid, which made me stop eating,” he said. “Here I come with my half-eaten Big Mac, and I said, ‘What’s up?’ And she said: ‘I’m trapped in here. He won’t let me out, me and my baby.’”

Ms. Berry gave birth to a daughter during her time in captivity. The little girl, Jocelyn, is now 6 years old.

She’s seeing the outside world for the first time, in large part thanks to Mr. Ramsey.

Even McDonald’s took notice of the Cleveland hero.

“We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims and respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey — we’ll be in touch,” the company wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

Mr. Ramsey could be entitled to a reward for helping locate and free the victims, but he’s not interested in cashing in and would rather see the money go to Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus and Ms. Knight.

“I tell you what you do, give it to them,” he said during the CNN interview.

“Because if folks been following this case since last night, you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway,” he added, just before holding up his paycheck.

Like many others, Mr. Ramsey took aim at the 911 dispatcher who took Ms. Berry’s frantic phone call after she escaped on Monday night. The call-taker has come under fire for hanging up before police arrived at the scene.

“Imbecile … shouldn’t have a damn job,” Mr. Ramsey said of the call-taker.

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