Two former Pike County sheriff’s deputies charged with federal civil rights violations


Two former Pike County sheriff’s deputies have been charged in federal court with civil rights crimes for using excessive force against a criminal inmate.

A federal grand jury last week indicted Jeremy Mooney, 47, of Piketon, and William Stansberry, 46, of Chillicothe, accusing Mooney of spraying and punching a criminal inmate while Stansberry, a supervisor, is not intervened. That indictment was uncovered Thursday during their first appearances in US District Court in Columbus.

The indictment does not name a victim, but the victim had been arrested and had yet to appear in court at the time of the Nov. 18, 2019, incident, according to the indictment.

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Both Mooney and Stansberry are charged with deprivation of civil rights related to Mooney’s use of force. According to the indictment, Mooney and Stansberry allegedly violated the victim’s constitutional rights while the victim was in the custody of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors allege Mooney repeatedly used pepper spray on the victim and struck her repeatedly while the victim was restrained and did not pose a threat, incidents which resulted in bodily harm and was captured on video.

Stansberry is charged with violating the victim’s constitutional rights by willfully failing to intervene to prevent Mooney’s conduct, according to the indictment. Stansberry – who held a supervisory position in the sheriff’s office at the time – is accused of being aware that Mooney was using unreasonable force and did not intervene, despite having had the opportunity to do so.

If convicted, both men face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Since 2016, Pike County law enforcement has been the focus of attention after eight members of the Rhoden family were found gunned down in four homes on three separate properties throughout the county. In 2018, members of the Wagner family were arrested and charged in their deaths.

One of the Wagners, Edward “Jake” Wagner admitted earlier this week to death by shooting five of the eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County late in the night of April 21, 2016 until the early morning of April 22, 2016.

In day-long testimony at the start of week eight of his brother George Wagner IV’s murder trial, Jake Wagner said he shot and killed Frankie Rhoden and his fiancee, Hannah Hazel Gilley, in a Pike County trailer that night- the. He then shot Dana Manley-Rhoden; his son, Christopher Rhoden Jr.; and her daughter, Hanna May Rhoden, in another trailer nearby.

Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden shared a child that sparked a custody battle, which prosecutors say inspired the Wagners to kill the Rhodens.

In 2019, former Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was charged with charges in office after prosecutors alleged he stole money from drug raids to fuel a gambling addiction. Reader pleaded guilty to the charges in 2021 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Two former Pike County sheriff’s deputies charged in federal court

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