Facing over a dozen accusations of using his position to steal, tamper with evidence and alter records, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader accepted a suspension from his law enforcement duties, auditor of state Keith Faber announced Wednesday.
“His decision enables the community to maintain confidence in the sheriff’s office while the legal process continues,” Faber wrote in a statement.
As sheriff, Reader supervised the investigation into one of Ohio’s most nationally notorious crimes: The overnight massacre of eight family members in 2016.
None of his alleged crimes were connected to that investigation, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, and his upcoming criminal trial shouldn’t affect the trials of the suspects in the massacre.
Instead, according to court documents, Reader’s abuses of power involved multiple thefts, including the theft of three vehicles, requesting loans from vendors and employees and changing department records to conceal his wrongdoing.
Yost’s office said the appointment of an interim sheriff would normally be handled by the Pike County Commission, although that body can defer to the County Central Committee.