Former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader pled guilty Thursday to five of 16 charges that were filed against him in June of 2019, according to Pike County Common Pleas Court online records.
Reader was accused of stealing money seized in drug cases to fund a gambling habit, among other allegations.
The charges he pled guilty to include theft in office, tampering with records and conflict of interest.
The other charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.
As a result of the guilty plea, Reader will be fired from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and lose his law enforcement certification. He will also be disqualified from holding public office in Ohio, several sources reported.
Court records did not indicate a sentencing date.
Reader became well-known amid the investigation into the 2016 execution-style shootings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County. Eventually, the Wagner family — a couple and their two adult sons — were charged with murder in connection to the homicides.
The charges against Reader were not connected to the slayings.
The original anonymous complaint against Reader alleged the sheriff “keeps the cash confiscated on drug cases in a small safe in his office that only he has access to. We believe he is taking money from the safe and using it for personal use.”
The complaint went on to describe Reader as a compulsive gambler who never had any money of his own. It charged him with borrowing several thousand dollars from investigators connected with the sheriff’s office. The complainant also alleged Reader owed a local car dealer more than $20,000, and that he took impounded cars off a lot for use by his daughter.