UPDATE: Athens Sheriff's Corruption Trial Moved to January

By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 7/17/14 @ 11:30 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The trial for indicted Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly has been moved to January 26.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove moved the date at the request of Kelly’s attorney. The trial had been scheduled for September 29.

The paper say the lawyer requested the change due to the number of items and records that need to be reviewed.

In February, Kelly pleaded not guilty to a 25 count indictment. He was indicted on the charges on January 31.

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.

In March, a special-three judge panel appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Kelly should be suspended from office.

Before the panel’s ruling became official, Kelly announced he would not contest the preliminary suspension

Rodney Smith was named interim sheriff.



UPDATE 4/9/14 @ 9:45 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - Democratic Party officials have named a retired lieutenant as interim sheriff in a southeast Ohio county where the elected sheriff is facing corruption charges.

The Athens County Democratic Party Central Committee on Tuesday named Rodney Smith as the interim sheriff to serve in place of Sheriff Patrick Kelly, who was suspended by the state after his indictment in the corruption case.

Smith already had been directed by county commissioners to run the office temporarily, but the local party committee was required to name an interim.

The charges against Kelly include theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Kelly is suspected of improperly using public funds to buy meals and apparel, among other allegations.

Kelly has denied wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges.



UPDATE 3/28/14 @ 2 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- A special-three judge panel appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court officially issued its ruling Friday that Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly should be suspended from office.

In January, a grand jury indicted Sheriff Kelly on 25 counts that include theft in office, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering and tampering with evidence.

In February, the panel was appointed to determine if Kelly should be suspended until the case is resolved.

Wednesday, Kelly announced in a written statement that he would not contest the suspension recommended by the panel.

The panel met March 3, and found that Kelly should be suspended from office. On March 12, Kelly contested the ruling. Then on March 25, Kelly’s attorney withdrew that appeal. The suspension became official Thursday.

Thursday morning, Athens County Commissioners met and selected Rodney Smith, a retired midnight shift lieutenant in the sheriff's office, as Kelly’s temporary replacement.

The Democratic central committee will meet on April 7and select the permanent replacement.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/27/14 @ 1 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- A former officer in the Athens County Sheriff’s Office has been selected as the temporary replacement for Sheriff Patrick Kelly, if he is suspended from office.

In January, a grand jury indicted Sheriff Kelly on 25 counts that include theft in office, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering and tampering with evidence.

In February, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed a three-judge panel to determine if Kelly should be suspended until the case is resolved.

Wednesday, Kelly announced in a written statement that he will not contest the preliminary suspension recommended by the panel. As of late Thursday morning that panel had not issued a ruling.

Thursday morning, Commissioner met and selected Rodney Smith, a retired midnight shift lieutenant in the sheriff's office, as Kelly’s temporary replacement if and when a suspension happens.

Commissioners also considered Lt. Jack Taylor, who is in charge of the detective division at the Athens County Sheriff's Office.

If Sheriff Kelly is suspended the Democratic central committee will select the permanent sheriff. The committee's next meeting is scheduled April 7.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/26/14 5 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (AP/WSAZ) – Athens County Commissioners are expected to appoint a temporary replacement for Sheriff Patrick Kelly Thursday morning pending the outcome of the criminal case against him.
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A grand jury indicted Sheriff Kelly on 25 counts back in January.

The charges include theft in office, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering, tampering with evidence, and perjury.

Following the indictment, Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges and said he would not step down as Sheriff.

In February, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed a three-judge panel to determine if Kelly should be suspended until the case is resolved.

Wednesday, Kelly announced in a written statement that, “After consulting with my attorney Brad Koffel, I have decided not to contest the preliminary suspension recommended by the commission appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court. This is a difficult decision, but I want to spend the time necessary to prepare for my September case. I do not want to distract from the mission and vision of the office I love so much and the fine men and women of the Athens County Sheriff's Office. I have full confidence in my staff and employees that they will continue at the same high level of professionalism and dedication during my absence.”

As of late Wednesday night, the panel has not officially announced that Kelly was being suspended.

The County Commission meeting is set for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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