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Grand jury issues 25-count indictment against Athens sheriff

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After more than a year, a decision has been handed down in the special grand jury investigation of allegations against Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

During a press conference this afternoon, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the indictment of Kelly on 25 counts, including 23 felony counts. His office has now turned the case over to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Kelly’s biggest offense is a first-degree felony of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. If convicted, he could face three to 10 years in the Athens County Jail.

Thirteen charges are related to theft in office: three of them fourth-degree felonies, and 10 of them fifth-degree felonies. If found guilty of all charges, Kelly could spend up to almost 18 years in jail.

The other charges Kelly faces include perjury, money laundering, tampering with evidence and records, theft of property, and obstructing official business.

DeWine announced that his office, required by Ohio Revised Code Section 3.16, would request the Ohio Supreme Court initiate proceedings for “suspension of a local official charged with (a) felony related to official conduct.”

This means Kelly will remain sheriff unless the Supreme Court decides an interim sheriff is needed during the trial. He does have the option to resign or retire, but today at the Athens County Courthouse he said he will remain sheriff as long as possible.

It was DeWine’s decision not to make an arrest in this case because there was no evidence of a flight risk. Kelly’s arraignment will be held Feb. 10.

At this time, no one else has been indicted relating to matters of this case.

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