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Ohio sheriff accused of using money from drug busts for gambling

By Cliff Pinckard • Dec 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM

COLUMBUS — The sheriff who led the investigation into the murder of eight family members in southern Ohio has been accused of taking money from drug busts and using it for gambling, according to reports.

An anonymous complaint filed with the state auditor’s office against Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader also accuses him of allowing his daughter to drive impounded vehicles, WCPO Channel 9 reports, and that he borrowed thousands of dollars from deputies to support his gambling habit.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the complaint says Reader “is a compulsive gambler and never has any money.” The amount of money reportedly taken has not been specified.

“Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it,” the complaint says, according to the Enquirer. “We are scared to death of him.”

A judge has appointed Robert F. Smith, assistant legal counsel with the auditor’s office, as a special prosecutor to investigate the claims, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Reader reportedly declined to comment on the allegations. His lawyer, James Boulger, tells the Dispatch he’s “not aware” of Reader having a gambling problem but didn’t deny the sheriff might have gambled. Boulger says the complaint might be the result “bitterness” over layoffs in September.

Reader oversaw the investigation into the murders of eight members the Rhoden family in April 2016. In November, four people were arrested and charged with the murders.

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