PIKE COUNTY — Former Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for stealing money seized from arrests and then covering it up.
Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced Reader in Pike County Common Pleas Court after Reader had pleaded guilty in 2019 to stealing money seized from arrests and then covering it up. Judge Cosgrove sentenced Reader to six years in prison on felony charges and six months in the county jail on a misdemeanor but allowed the sentences to run concurrently, which will give Reader only three years.
During his sentencing, Reader pleaded with the judge to not be sentenced to prison, stating he would like to see his son graduate and be there for his family.
“Your honor, please don’t send me to prison,” Reader said while crying. “I have wronged, but I am not ruined. I still have a lot of good left in me.”
While seeming unphased by his plea, Cosgrove stated that Reader had turned his back on his community and disgraced the badge as a public servant.
“You choose to be in this profession, ” Cosgrove said. “We see horrible things. Horrible things … We all choose our profession, and we have to conduct ourselves with integrity. You did your job, but you neglected your family. You didn’t reach out for help when you should have.”
Reader was elected Pike County Sheriff in 2015 and thrown into the spotlight after the murder of several Rhoden family members in 2016. During that time, Reader was looked at by the community as a hero for his work on the Rhoden family murder cases. Following an anonymous complaint alleging Reader was guilty of various types of misconduct, perhaps most notably allegedly stealing money from drug busts, the state auditor Keith Faber’s office brought to light Reader’s crimes.
Reader was taken into custody after his sentencing and will immediately start his sentence.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued the following statement regarding the sentencing of Reader.
“No one is above the law – and there are rightful consequences for violating the public trust. Today’s sentencing closes an ugly chapter for Pike County, whose citizens deserve government free of corruption.”
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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