Former sheriff held at intake facility in Orient

Local News

ORIENT, Ohio (WCMH) — Former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader is moving through the prisoner intake process at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

Reader was transported to the center from the Pike County Court of Common Pleas Wednesday after sentencing. The Correctional Reception Center houses approximately 1,500 inmates and is the starting point for incarceration, responsible for intake, diagnosis, and classification of prisoners.

Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove sentenced Reader Wednesday to three years in prison on charges of theft in office, tampering with evidence, and conflict of interest.

The judge said she gave Reader the minimum, but that the sentence reflects the seriousness of the charges.

Before sentencing Reader addressed the court, saying he took accountability for his actions of betraying the community’s trust.

“I took the money — and this does not excuse it — from drug dealers who took it from poor people in this society,” Reader said. He said the drug money went to pay for community services that otherwise could not have been afforded, including a monument to a deceased teen in the community.

Prosecutors had asked for a “lengthy prison term” for Reader who pleaded guilty to charges in September 2020 to two counts of theft in office, two counts of tampering with evidence, and conflict of interest.

An anonymous tip in 2018 prompted an investigation into Reader, and he was indicted in June 2019 on 16 charges. He was suspended from his position as sheriff in July 2019.

As Sheriff, Reader received national attention in 2016 after eight members of the Rhoden family were shot execution-style in Pike County. The investigation, that also involved the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, took more than two years before arrests were made of George Wagner III and members of his family.

Reader’s intake documentation says his expected release date is March 22, 2024.

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