New indictment accuses Pike County Sheriff Reader of corruption, theft

Suspended Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, who investigated the 2016 Pike County murders, is in trouble again following a new 18-count indictment returned Friday afternoon.

The new indictment handed up by a county grand jury accuses Reader of 11 felonies and seven misdemeanors that include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity to theft in office. The new indictment supersedes a 16-count indictment filed against him in June 2019.

>> Indicted Pike County sheriff says he's running again

Prosecutors have accused Reader of using his office to finance a gambling problem, our news partners at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati have reported.

In the new indictment brought by Special Prosecutor Robert Smith, none of the charges are directly related to the ongoing investigation of the April 20-21, 2016, slayings of eight members of the Rhoden family.

The new indictment accuses Reader of:

  • Theft in office (four felony counts) involving property or services valued at $1,000 to $7,500
  • Theft in office (one felony count) involving property or services valued at less than $1,000
  • Tampering with evidence (two felony counts) involving evidence bags containing an estimated $7,621
  • Theft (two felony counts) involving the use of deception to secure a 2013 Nissan Versa sedan and a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado pickup
  • Securing writings by deception (one felony count) - specifically, to secure the Versa
  • Conflict of interest (seven misdemeanor counts) involving securing the Silverado and requesting/accepting $8,500 in five loans from county vendors and sheriff's office employees
  • Pattern of corrupt activity (one felony count) involving activity between June 22, 2017 and Dec. 20, 2018

Reader pleaded not guilty to the charges in the original indictment in July 2019 and was suspended from his job.

In November, Reader pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of making a false statement to the Ohio Ethics Commission. That charge accuses him of failing to report $7,500 in loans and gifts on a financial disclosure statement.

About the Author