Court docs: Sheriff behind Pike County massacre arrests accused of ‘misconduct’

Posted at 12:28 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 16:34:08-05

WAVERLY, Ohio — Court documents filed Thursday allege "misconduct" by Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, who ran the investigation into the Rhoden family murders. It's not yet clear whether the alleged misconduct is connected to the Rhoden case.

Reader told the WCPO I-Team he does not have a comment at this time. He said he has retained Chillicothe attorney James Boulger.

The documents, filed by Prosecuting Attorney Rob Junk, say there have been “allegations of misconduct in office on the part of the Pike County Sheriff.”

Pike County Commissioner Tony Montgomery said he first heard about the investigation on Thursday when Prosecutor Junk informed the county commissioners about a search warrant, and subpoenas, involving the Sheriff's Office, the Pike County Auditor's Office, and some local businesses.

Montgomery said his first reaction was, "This is the last thing we need with the Rhoden murders and trials, another reason to be in the news."

Junk, who serves as statutory legal counsel for the sheriff’s office, asked specifically that Robert F. Smith of Auditor Dave Yost's office handle the investigation. A Pike County judge signed off on the special prosecutor Thursday.

The state auditor's office does financial, compliance and special audits and investigations to make sure local government funds are used for what they are intended to be used for. The Auditor's Public Integrity Team, a group that investigates criminal cases, is looking into the allegations.

Reader had been sheriff for about six months when eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes in 2016. Authorities arrested four people in connection with their murders last month.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mike DeWine said they have no comment on the investigation into the sheriff, in part, because there is a gag-order in the Rhoden case.

Junk said the court documents he filed "speak for themselves."

The Ohio Auditor's Office released the following statement:

"The Ohio Auditor’s office received a complaint about a Pike County matter and has opened an investigation. In addition, the Pike County prosecutor has named an attorney from the Ohio Auditor’s Office’s Public Integrity Assurance Team as special prosecutor in this matter. Because we have an open investigation, it is the auditor’s office policy to provide no further comment."

WCPO will update this story as more information becomes available.

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