Charles Reader, who is currently under a provisional suspension from the office of Pike County Sheriff, is facing an ethics violation/false statement charge filed on Nov. 6 in Franklin County Municipal Court.
According to the complaint, filed by Diane Corey of the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office, Reader failed to list personal loans he had received in 2017 on his Financial Disclosure Statement with the Ohio Ethics Commission on Feb. 25, 2018. According to the complaint, the loans amounted to $7,500 and included a loan from a Pike County deputy.
Reader has pleaded not guilty to the charge, a first-degree misdemeanor.
According to Franklin County Municipal Court online records, a hearing on this charge is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Reader announced his intent to run for reelection as an independent candidate in the November 2020 election. Reader stated that he will run as an independent “because he feels politics do not belong in law enforcement.”
“Our citizens need a sheriff who has developed trust throughout his community,” Reader stated in a press release on Friday. “The people need a sheriff who has the experience to deal with criminals and who will get involved. They need a sheriff who is not afraid to drive his truck through a field and chase after a convict.”
Reader also stated, “There should be no line that divides a community from their law enforcement. No dollar amount, no manufactured budget crisis by others. That is why my campaign slogan is ‘The People’s Sheriff.’”
Reader also alluded to conflict with others, stating, “My tenure as sheriff has ruffled the feathers of those who have long played the good ol’ boys game, where it didn’t matter what you did; it only mattered who you knew. But when you’ve spent your career chasing down child molesters, rapists, and thieves, you don’t worry yourself too much about ruffling feathers.”
The ethics violation charge is separate from 16 charges on which Reader was indicted by a Pike County Grand Jury earlier this year. These 16 charges stemmed from an investigation by the Ohio Auditor’s Office, which began in December 2018. A Pike County Grand Jury indicted Reader on these charges on June 28, including seven charges of Conflict of Interest, four charges of Theft in Office, two charges of Theft, one charge each of Tampering with Evidence, Tampering with Records, and Securing Writings by Deception. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts, and he is set for trial on these charges on April 20, 2020.
James Nelson is currently serving as interim sheriff.