Sheriff Reader

Former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for multiple charges while in office.

PIKE COUNTY — It’s a story Pike Countians know all too well — former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the many months since he last held the position, having been charged on multiple counts of theft, conflict of interest, and tampering, which date back to his time in office. That story finally came to a conclusion this past week.

It’s been nearly two years since June of 2019, when the former sheriff was indicted on 16 counts before a Pike County Grand Jury. It’s been a long and controversial road in the months since, one that Pike County residents are very familiar with.

On Wednesday, March 24, in Pike County Court the former sheriff was given a sentence of 3 years in prison by Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost gave his thoughts on the much-anticipated sentencing in a press release on Wednesday afternoon, “No one is above the law – and there are rightful consequences for violating the public trust. Today’s sentencing closes an ugly chapter for Pike County, whose citizens deserve government free of corruption.”

Reader became the Sheriff of Pike County in 2015. He was in the position during the tragedy known as “The Pike County Massacre”; the brutal killing of multiple members of the Rhoden family, which turned out to be one of the most horrific and highly-publicized events in Pike County’s history. In June of 2019, after being accused of stealing money, Reader was investigated and later indicted on the following 16 counts, which led to his suspension:

Counts 1, 2 , 3: According to a copy of the indictment, the tampering with evidence charge allegedly took place on or about Dec. 20, 2018, days after the state’s investigation began, as allegedly did the charges of tampering with records and one fourth-degree felony count of theft in office. The tampering with evidence and tampering with records charges are third-degree felonies.

Count 4: One conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) allegedly took place on or about Aug. 19, 2017, when the sheriff allegedly “in his capacity as a public official … did recklessly use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of his office to secure a thing of value, to wit: a 2013 Nissan Versa.”

Count 5: The charge of securing writings by deception (fifth-degree felony) allegedly took place during a time period from Aug. 19, 2017, through Nov. 19, 2017. The charge alleges that Reader “by deception, did cause another to execute a writing, to wit: title to a 2013 Nissan Versa.”

Count 6: Another count of theft in office (fourth-degree felony) was alleged to have occurred during a time period from Aug. 19, 2017, and ending, Nov. 9, 2017. The charge alleges that Reader “did knowingly commit a theft offense, to wit: Securing Writings by Deception.”

Count 7: A fifth-degree felony charge of theft allegedly occurred on or about Aug. 19, 2017.

Count 8: Another theft in office charge (fourth-degree felony) allegedly occurred on or about Aug. 19, 2017.

Count 9: This conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) alleges that Reader “did recklessly use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of his office to secure a thing of value, to wit: 1991 Chevrolet Silverado.” This allegedly took place on or about Aug. 19, 2017.

Count 10: This theft charge (first-degree misdemeanor) allegedly occurred between the time period of Aug. 19, 2017, through Dec. 15, 2017.

Count 11: This theft in office charge (fifth-degree felony) allegedly occurred between the time period of Aug. 19, 2017, through Dec. 15, 2017.

Count 12: This is a conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) that allegedly occurred on or about June 26, 2017. The charge alleges that Reader requested and/or accepted a loan of $1,500 from someone who was an employee of the sheriff’s office.

Count 13: This is a conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) that allegedly occurred on or about Oct. 18, 2017. The charge alleges that Reader requested and/or accepted a loan of $1,000 from someone who was a Pike County vendor.

Count 14: This is a conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) that allegedly occurred during a period of time from May 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2018. The charge alleges that Reader requested and/or accepted a loan of $2,500 from someone who was an employee of the sheriff’s office.

Count 15: This is a conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) that allegedly occurred on or about Aug. 7, 2018. The charge alleges that the sheriff requested and/or accepted a loan of $2,000 from someone who was an employee of the sheriff’s office.

Count 16: This is a conflict of interest charge (first-degree misdemeanor) that allegedly occurred on or about Aug. 26, 2018. The charge alleges that the sheriff requested and/or accepted a loan of $2,000 from someone who was a Pike County vendor.

In May of 2020, Reader pleaded “not guilty” to all 16 of the counts against him before eventually pleading guilty a few months later to five charges including theft, conflict of interest, and tampering.

Reader was due to face a sentencing back in January but due to COVID-19 restraints, the sentencing was pushed back and eventually rescheduled for Wednesday, March 24, where Reader would face his sentence in the Pike County Common Pleas Court. 

The retired Judge who gave Reader his sentence, Patricia Cosgrove, came back to the practice after being assigned to specifically cover Reader’s case.

Reader pleaded with the judge to be kept from a prison sentence to no avail, asking for some alternative such as community service.

Cosgrove sympathized with the citizens of Pike County who have witnessed Reader’s actions firsthand, “It cannot be underestimated the damage you have caused to the citizens of Pike County, to law enforcement who every day get up and face the same sort of stresses that you do.”

After the sentencing, Reader was taken into custody and removed from the Pike County Courthouse; a scene that must have seemed eerie to Pike County residents given Reader’s former position of the County’s Sheriff. According to his plea, Reader will no longer have the ability to be a public officer of any kind in Pike County or the State of Ohio.

Note: Ethan Leist is the editor of The Pike County News Watchman.

Trending Recipe Videos


You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you

Load comments