Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly Indicted On 25 Counts - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly Indicted On 25 Counts

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Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly has been indicted Friday on 25 counts, including theft in office. Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly has been indicted Friday on 25 counts, including theft in office.
Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that his office would request that the Ohio Supreme Court initiate proceedings for "suspension of a local official charged with (a) felony related to official conduct." Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that his office would request that the Ohio Supreme Court initiate proceedings for "suspension of a local official charged with (a) felony related to official conduct."
ATHENS, Ohio - Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly was indicted by a grand jury Friday on 25 charges, including theft in office and money laundering.

According to the indictment, Kelly, 63, was indicted on the following charges:

Three counts of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony
Ten counts of theft in office, a fifth-degree felony
Four counts of theft, a fifth-degree felony
One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony
One count of money laundering, a third-degree felony
One count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony
One count of tampering with records, a third-degree felony
One count of perjury, a third-degree felony
One count of failure to keep cashbook, an unclassified felony
One count of obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor
One count of dereliction of duty, a second-degree misdemeanor

MORE:
Read The Indictment

Kelly, who is in his 6th year as sheriff, released the following statement Friday afternoon, less than an hour before Attorney General Mike DeWine made an announcement regarding the investigation:

"Sadly, the Attorney General's obsession with following a political agenda suggest that their leadership is not up to the kind of honest investigation and oversight that would lead to a clear and just assessment of the facts presented.

"I have not committed or attempted to commit a criminal act nor have any of my employees.

"After two years of accusations and suppositions in an attempt to overturn the results of this past election, in which the majority of Athens County voters cast their confidence in me, we will now discuss this injustice in a court setting where the facts will be presented."

The indictment covers incidents that allegedly occurred January 2008 through September 2013.

DeWine said that 25 witness statements solidify the state's case against Kelly.

"This is a public corruption case. This is a serious case. What we allege is a pattern, a long-standing pattern," DeWine said.

The indictment alleges that Kelly sold Athens County property without consent, used money from the sheriff's "cashbox;" drug fine fund, law enforcement trust fund and/or furtherance of justice fund; and his political campaign fund. The amount of cash involved was more than $1,000, but less than $7,500.

The indictment claims that members of Kelly's campaign committees would funnel money through a personal bank account or not report various cash donations on the committee's finance reports, or deposit cash donations into the campaign bank account.

It is alleged that Kelly used personal contacts to aid him in removing Athens County property and selling it to a scrap yard, which would then pay Kelly for the property.

He is also accused of destroying, concealing or removing documents or records.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost said one of the charges is the result of audit findings from 2011 and 2012 that Kelly had allegedly improperly paid for personal clothing, meals and party supplies using public funds.

Kelly was ordered to return and account for money that was earmarked to fight crime, but was apparently being diverted for personal gain.

According to the findings for recovery, during a review of the sheriff's law enforcement trust fund account, money that was supposed to be used to operate the sheriff's office was spent on meals, Ohio University polo shirts, and a retirement party.

It also showed more than $14,000 from the state's furtherance of justice fund was misspent. The money was raised locally and it means that the sheriff can spend the money in any way that furthers justice.

Kelly returned more than $10,000.

Yost said during the audit, they found that Kelly bought $600 suits, and was allegedly using the fund as his personal ATM.

"To have this kind of an indictment with more than 20 counts … occasionally, you'll see a sheriff that will have a little ethical problem, a misdemeanor for failure, dereliction of duty or something like that, but something like this is really historic," Yost said.

Yost said the findings of his office were the tip of the iceberg. He turned over the audit to the Athens County prosecutor, who in turn asked the attorney general to take over the investigation.

DeWine announced that his office would request that the Ohio Supreme Court initiate proceedings for "suspension of a local official charged with (a) felony related to official conduct."

Kelly also posted the following message to his official Facebook page Friday afternoon:

"By now you have heard the grand jury has issued a twenty five count indictment against me.

"Thank you for all your calls of prayers and support.

"Truthfully, I am fine. Deb, not so. 

"I will not step down as your sheriff and will continue with the same strong leadership and professionalism I have served you with for the past five years.

"I am surrounded by a very strong family, friends and have the support of my staff and employees.

The staff and employees Athens County Sheriffs Office have been instructed by me to continue with the same mission and vision of professionalism that I have demanded for the past five years."

Kelly's arraignment is set for February 10 in Athens County.


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