Pike County sheriff accepts suspension in aftermath of theft indictment

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WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 07/10/19

An Ohio sheriff has accepted suspension in the aftermath of his indictment and a judge's restrictions.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was charged last month with counts including theft in office and evidence-tampering after authorities looked into a complaint accusing him of stealing money that had been seized in drug cases.

He pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

A judge said he couldn't have contact with witnesses in the case and Ohio Auditor Keith Faber asked the state Supreme Court to suspend Reader.

Faber said Wednesday that Reader's decision on the suspension allows the community to maintain confidence in the sheriff's office while the legal process continues.

A message was left for Reader's attorney.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


ORIGINAL STORY: 6/28/19

A southern Ohio sheriff has been indicted on felony charges including theft in office and evidence-tampering.

A grand jury in Pike County Common Pleas Court issued a 16-count indictment Friday for Sheriff Charles Reader, who is known for investigating the gruesome 2016 slayings of eight people from the Rhoden family.

The indictment includes misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charges alleging that Reader sought or accepted thousands of dollars in loans from employees of his office and a county vendor.

A message seeking comment was left for an attorney who has spoken for Reader in the matter.

The sheriff's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

A prosecutor from Ohio Auditor Keith Faber's office is handling the case.

A statement from Faber said the charges followed a long investigation and that public officials must be held accountable.

“This has been a long and intensive investigation with unfortunate and very serious results," Faber said. "It is our job to hold public officials accountable and root out fraud, waste, and abuse in our communities. We do not take these charges lightly and recognize that no one is above the law."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released the following statement, saying he does not think the indictment will have any impact on the Rhoden murder cases.

“This will have no impact on the Wagner capital murder cases, as Sheriff Reader was not the primary witness for any issue of fact or law, Yost said. "Ohio sheriffs act with integrity and honor, and this rare occurrence does not reflect the excellent work they do daily throughout their counties.”

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)