New indictment adds corruption charge against suspended Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader

Posted at 4:48 PM, Feb 21, 2020

A new indictment raises a new, more serious charge against the suspended sheriff who investigated the 2016 Pike County massacre.

A Pike County grand jury indicted Charles Reader on a first-degree felony charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity on Friday – accusing him of “various acts of theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with records, tampering with evidence and theft in office.”

The new indictment lists 18 counts – 11 felony charges and seven misdemeanors -- and supersedes the 16-count indictment filed against him in June 2019.

Prosecutors have accused Reader of using his office to finance a gambling problem.

None of the charges are directly related to the investigation of the killings of eight members of the Rhoden family on April 20-21, 2016.

The new indictment includes:

  • Four felony counts of theft in office when the value of property or services stolen was between $1,000 and $7,500.
  • One felony count of theft in office when the value of property or services stolen was less than $1,000.
  • Two felony counts of tampering with evidence.
  • Two felony counts of theft.
  • One felony count of securing writings by deception – specifically, to secure a 2013 Nissan Versa
  • Seven misdemeanor counts of conflict of interest – including securing a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado and requesting/accepting five loans of between $1,000 and $2,500 from vendors and employees.

All charges cite 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 the sheriff's post.

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