Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at an afternoon news conference to discuss the 2016 slayings of 8 people in Pike County. BOB GARLOCK/STAFF

Court filings allege potential ‘misconduct’ by Pike County sheriff

Court documents filed Thursday by Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk report “allegations of potential misconduct in office on the part of the Pike County sheriff.”

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office confirmed it “received a complaint about a Pike County matter and has opened an investigation.”

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“In addition, the Pike County prosecutor has named an attorney from the Ohio Auditor’s Office’s Public Integrity Assurance Team as special prosecutor in this matter,” the statement from Yost’s office said. “Because we have an open investigation, it is the auditor’s office policy to provide no further comment.”

Junk asked that Robert F. Smith of the state auditor’s office handle the investigation, according to this newsroom’s partners at WCPO. The Chillicothe Gazette first reported the investigation.

Junk, as prosecutor, serves as statutory legal counsel for the sheriff’s office. A Pike County judge signed off on the special prosecutor Thursday.

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Reader was sheriff when eight members of the Rhoden family were killed in their homes in 2016. Last month, authorities arrested four people in connection with the homicides. 

Unclear is whether the misconduct allegations are related to the Rhoden case.

Reader told WCPO he had no comment at this time.

Read more coverage:

»Pike County murders: Grandmother on house arrest asks to leave Wagner farm

» AG-elect Yost proposes plan to help Pike County cover trial costs

» Focus on Wagner family turns into arrests for Pike County murders

» Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

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