- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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.

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