BCI Conducts Another Search of Sheriff's Office and Residence

By
Steve Robb- Athens Messenger staff journalist

Dateline
Updated Fri, Dec 13, 2013 9:00 am

Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation conducted searches of the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Patrick Kelly’s home on Wednesday.

It was the second time BCI executed search warrants at the two locations.

The previous time was in June.

The bureau has been investigating several allegations involving Kelly, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office convened a special grand jury in June that has met on four days so far.

According to Kelly, on Wednesday agents copied the hard drives of computers in the sheriff’s office and at his home.

“This is the second search warrant BCI has executed on my office and residence, each time mirroring the same office and residence computers,” Kelly said in a written statement issued Thursday.

Compared to the June search, Wednesday’s search was much more low-key.

In June, BCI crime scene vehicles were parked outside the sheriff’s office, the front of the building was closed off with yellow crime scene tape and an Athens police officer was posted outside to keep people away. The search occurred on the same day the grand jury had met, and an assistant attorney general confirmed the two events were related.

On Wednesday, it was not evident that anything was occurring. The Messenger attempted on Wednesday to make contact with a BCI agent entering the sheriff’s office, but was unsuccessful.

In his written statement, Kelly said he and his staff have been cooperative with the investigation.

“After a year and a half of politically motivated accusations, accounting issues dating back decades and suppositions, the attorney general’s investigation of me and my office has been met in a cooperative manner by me, my staff and the many community members that have been subjected and questioned by BCI investigators,” Kelly wrote.

In June, Kelly was one of the people subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, but was only in the grand jury room for a few minutes.

He later told The Messenger he was read his Miranda rights, but declined to answer questions on advice of attorneys with whom he’d spoken.

It’s known that the attorney general’s office has been asked to investigate several matters, including Kelly’s alleged disposal of records belonging to the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, a state audit with findings against Kelly and an assault complaint in which Kelly was accused of stuffing a flier into a man’s shirt pocket. BCI has also made inquiries about the sheriff’s sale of county-owned scrap, a 2007 case in which some copper wiring was seized and the disposal of a vehicle.

“These unfounded accusations have cost Athens County taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars,” Kelly asserted.

“The integrity and credibility of those making accusations and their motives are suspect at least.”

Kelly declined to comment beyond the written statement.

 

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