Pike County Sheriff arraigned, pleads not guilty on all 16 counts

Ohio

PIKE COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was arraigned Tuesday after he was accused of keeping money from drug cases in a safe in his office. 

Reader pleaded not guilty in a Pike County court after he was indicted last week on 16 charges, including theft in office and tampering with evidence. 

Reader will be out on a recognizance bond.  

The indictment comes after Pike County prosecuting attorney filed a motion to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Sheriff Charles Reader in December 2018 after Reader was accused of misconduct in office. 

The Ohio Auditor’s Office opened an investigation into Reader after receiving an anonymous tip in November 2018. 

The complaint accuses Reader of keeping money from drug cases in a safe in his office. 

The tip further claims Reader uses that money to pay for a gambling addiction. 

“Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it,” the complainant alleged. “We are scared to death of him. He is unstable and threatens people.” 

Reader’s charges include seven charges of conflict of interest, four charges of theft in office, two charges of theft, one charge each of tampering with evidence, tampering with records, and securing writings by deception.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an amicus brief, calling for the removal of Reader as Pike County Sheriff.

“Sheriff Reader violated the public’s trust when he used his office to benefit himself rather than the public,” Yost said. “Reader has been credibly accused and indicted. Under these circumstances, I don’t see how he can be an effective law enforcement officer.”

Yost continued, saying, “Removing Reader from office will improve, not undermine, criminal justice in Pike County. Reader’s removal will have no effect whatsoever on Ohio’s ability to prosecute the defendants who stand accused of murdering the eight members of the Rhoden, Gilley, and Manley families in April of 2016.” 

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