( Pike County, OH ) - Former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader will spend the next three years in prison. Reader pleaded guilty last year to felony charges of theft in office and tampering with evidence.
He was accused of taking money from evidence and even co-workers to fuel a gambling addiction. In court for sentencing on Wednesday, Reader denied those claims. He insisted instead that the money went to pay for community services that people otherwise could not afford.
"I took the money — and this does not excuse it — from drug dealers who took it from poor people in this society," Reader told Judge Patricia Cosgrove before she handed down his sentence.
Reader was appointed Sheriff of Pike County less than a year before 8 members of the Rhoden family were murdered execution-style. Reader claimed the ordeal took a toll on his mental health and asked for mercy in the form of community control.
Judge Cosgrove questioned why Reader didn't take advantage of free counseling available to him and determined his actions merited punishment. He was facing up to nine years in prison, but instead was given the minimum sentence.