Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader indicted on 16 charges

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was accused in November of stealing cash seized from drug cases handled by the sheriff's office to fund a gambling problem

June 28, 2019

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader has been indicted on 16 charges stemming from allegations that surfaced in November accusing Reader of stealing cash seized from cases handled from his office.

"The grand jury in Pike County presented Reader with 16 charges including 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," The Auditor of the State of Ohio Keith Faber said in a statement.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was accused in November of stealing cash seized from drug cases handled by the sheriff's office to fund a gambling problem. An anonymous source made the allegation in a complaint that was forwarded to the Ohio Auditor's Office.

Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk requested a special prosecutor for Reader's case, which was investigated by the Ohio Auditor of State's Special Investigations Unit, Junk previously said in a dispute with

The anonymous accusation said Reader was taking money seized from drug cases to fund a gambling problem.

"This has been a long and intensive investigation with unfortunate and very serious results. 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. While this is a major step toward seeking justice, our team is fully prepared to present these findings to a jury as this matter moves forward. I'd like to commend everyone who worked on this case for the immense amount of effort and detail that has been dedicated to the investigation."

A Pike County grand jury returned the indictments Friday morning.

A summary of the charges:

  • Two counts of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony
  • Four counts of theft in office, three are fourth-degree felonies and one is a fifth-degree felony
  • Seven counts of conflict of interest, a first-degree misdemeanor
  • One count of securing writing by deception, a fifth-degree felony
  • Two counts of theft - one is a fifth-degree felony and the other is a first-degree felony

Reader's criminal case could have a deleterious effect on the prosecution of four members of the Wagner family charged in the Rhoden family massacre, according to legal experts.

"It will be interesting to see how this affects the murder prosecutions," said Mike Allen, the former top prosecutor of Hamilton County.

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