ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A grand jury has indicted Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly on 25 counts, including theft in office, money laundering and perjury.
The charges include three counts of fourth-degree theft in office, 10 counts of fifth-degree theft in office, four counts of theft, one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, one count of third-degree money laundering, one count of third-degree tampering with evidence, one count of third-degree perjury, failure to keep a cashbook, one count misdemeanor obstructing official business, and one count of misdemeanor dereliction of duty.
Kelly, 63 of The Plains, released the following statement on the indictment:
“Sadly, the Attorney Generals obsession with following a political agenda suggest that their leadership is not up to the kind of honest investigation and oversight that would lead to a clear and just assessment of the facts presented.
"I have not committed or attempted to commit a criminal act nor have any of my employees.
"After two years of accusations and suppositions in an attempt to overturn the results of the past election, in which the majority of Athens county voters cast their confidence with me, we will now discuss this injustice in a court setting where the facts will be presented.”
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn also released this statement on the indictment.
"Today, a jury of his peers indicted Pat Kelly for felony and misdemeanor conduct related to his office. While the Prosecutor’s Office will not comment on the facts of the indictment, we respect the grand jury process and the individuals involved throughout this yearlong investigation. Every indicted individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty and this case is no different.
The citizens of Athens County can rest assured that the wheels of justice are continuing to move and criminal defendants are being held accountable. The Office of County Prosecutor will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that justice prevails. The cloud of allegations have now resulted in formal charges, it is time for the rest of Athens County to move forward from these illegalities and heal the reputation of law enforcement.
The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office will not be involved in the prosecution of Kelly and will continue to assist only if requested by the Attorney General’s Office. This office has maintained independence from the investigation and will not comment publicly regarding Pat Kelly until the conclusion of the criminal matter.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine held a news conference in Athens Friday afternoon to discuss the grand jury investigation into Kelly.
DeWine said in a release that his office, as required by Ohio Revised Code Section 3.16, would request that the Ohio Supreme Court initiate proceedings for “suspension of a local official charged with (a) felony related to official conduct.”
Kelly said on his Facebook page that he will not step down as sheriff.
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