Retired police chief named interim Pike Co. sheriff

Retired police chief named interim Pike Co. sheriff
Jim Nelson, the retired police chief of Piketon, will serve as interim police chief of Pike County. (Source: Pike County News Watchman)

WAVERLY, Ohio (FOX19/AP) - A retired police chief will serve as interim sheriff in a southern Ohio county.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that 71-year-old Jim Nelson was selected Thursday night by the Pike County Democratic central committee. The retired Piketon chief will lead the department after Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader accepted suspension earlier this month.

Reader pleaded not guilty to 16 charges including conflict of interest, theft in office, theft, tampering with evidence, tampering with records and security writing by deception.

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Reader agreed to a suspension on July 10, saying the seven month investigation “adversely affected the functioning of the office and has caused debilitating stress to me.”

In court documents, Reader stated, “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 issued the following statement regarding the suspension:

“Charles Reader has chosen to accept his suspension from office while the criminal case pending against him proceeds. His decision enables the community to maintain confidence in the sheriff’s office while the legal process continues.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has said the sheriff’s indictment won’t impact the pending murder cases against four suspects charged in the gruesome 2016 shootings of eight people from the Rhoden family, the case that put Reader in the national spotlight.

Reader has been sheriff since 2015.

Copyright 2019 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.