- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - A southeast Ohio county has chosen a temporary replacement for a sheriff indicted in a corruption case.

Athens County commissioners decided Thursday that Rodney Smith will act as interim sheriff until the local Democratic committee appoints a replacement next month for Sheriff Patrick Kelly, a Democrat.

Smith is a retired sheriff’s lieutenant.

Kelly has denied wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges at trial in September. He is not challenging a judicial panel’s recommendation that he be suspended in the meantime.

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 personal apparel, selling county property to a scrapyard and stealing wire from a county garage, among other allegations.

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