Special commission to review Pike County sheriff’s suspension from office

Special commission to review Pike County sheriff’s suspension from office
Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader pleaded not guilty in Pike County Common Pleas Court earlier this month. (FOX19 NOW/file)

WAVERLY, Ohio (FOX19) - A special commission is now in place to review Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader’s suspension from office in light of his recent indictment on felony charges related to his conduct in office, the Ohio Supreme Court announced Wednesday.

The commission is made up of three retired judges: Janet Burnside, who served in Cuyahoga County, Patricia Cosgrove of Summit County and John Haas from Stark County.

State officials asked the state’s top court to establish the special commission earlier this month.

All meetings of the special commission are closed to the public, court officials wrote in an announcement about the commission Wednesday.

The records are not made available to the public for inspection or copying until the special commission issues its written report or otherwise concludes its proceeding, they added.

Jesse Mosser, staff attorney in the Office of Chief Legal Counsel at the Supreme Court of Ohio, will serve as secretary to the special commission, the court said. He has the authority to contact the parties, schedule hearings, and sign orders on behalf of and at the direction of the special commission.

Reader already agreed to be suspended last week after pleading not guilty to 16 charges including conflict of interest, theft in office, tampering with evidence, tampering with records and securing writing by deception.

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Reader has said the seven month investigation “adversely affected the functioning of the office and has caused debilitating stress to me.”

He also stated in court records: “I can no longer discharge the functions and duties of the officer of sheriff and authorize the special prosecutor to submit a judgment entry of provisional suspension.”

Ohio Auditor Keith Faber said Reader’s decision enables the community to maintain confidence in the sheriff’s office while the legal process continues.

An acting sheriff is expected to be named July 25, according to Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk.

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