Suspended Pike County sheriff pleads guilty to charges including theft in office

Charles Reader also pleads guilty to tampering with evidence, conflict of intertest
Pike Co Sheriff Reader in Court
Posted at 4:52 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 15:52:35-04

WAVERLY, Ohio — Suspended Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, who was indicted on over a dozen charges in 2019 and accused of extensive corruption in office, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to four felonies and one misdemeanor.

Reader pleaded guilty to:

  • Two felony counts of theft in office, when the value of property or services stolen was between $1,000 and $7,500.
  • Two felony counts of tampering with evidence. The evidence included bags of cash in amounts of $7,000 and $621.
  • One misdemeanor count of conflict of interest, including using his office to secure a 2013 Nissan Versa.

In addition to a possible prison sentence, Reader will likely lose his job as Pike County Sheriff. Court documents state that he will be “forever disqualified from holding any public office, employment or position of trust in the State of Ohio.” Reader will be terminated as a “peace officer” in the state as well.

Reader was best-known for overseeing the investigation of the "Pike County Massacre," the widely publicized killings of eight family members in April 2016. None of the 18 charges are directly related to that investigation.

"This is the last thing we need with the Rhoden murders and trials, another reason to be in the news," Pike County Commissioner Tony Montgomery said when the first allegations of corruption surfaced.

Prosecutors have accused Reader of using his office to finance a gambling problem. All charges cite activity between June 22, 2017 and Dec. 20, 2018. At the time of his initial indictment, Reader pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Pike County Clerk of Common Pleas said a sentencing hearing will take place on Jan. 4, 2021. Reader's original Oct. 26 trial has been canceled.