Ray Spencer

Piatt County Board Chairman Ray Spencer was issued a warrant for his arrest Monday after being indicted by a Piatt County grand jury on four charges: two counts of official misconduct and two counts of forgery, all Class 3 felonies.

Spencer turned himself in Monday and was released on $500 bail. He was back on the job as county board member and chairman Wednesday, presiding over various committee meetings.

At least one of the charges stems from an email from Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades that Spencer allegedly altered and forwarded to a member of the media.

It may refer to an email Spencer forwarded to Journal-Republican Editor Steve Hoffman on Nov. 26. It included information sent by Rhoades with legal advice regarding a pair of public meetings and approval of the county budget and tax levy.

But the Journal-Republican confirmed that the entire text of the email was not forwarded by Spencer, including a portion where Rhoades said she learned about the meeting “from an outside source,” something she had stated at one of the Nov. 26 meetings.

The first forgery count charges Spencer, "with the intent to defraud, knowingly altered any document, namely: legal advice from the Piatt County State's Attorney to the members of the Piatt County Board, deleting paragraphs from the written memorandum to the County Board, by appending the digital signature of the Piatt County State's Attorney to the altered document, and causing it to be delivered to a news media outlet in the altered condition."

The second forgery count alleges Spencer "knowingly delivered" the document in "the altered condition."

The two counts of official misconduct Spencer was charged with state that "the Chairman of the Piatt County Board, and in his official capacity, did knowingly perform an act which he knew he is forbidden by law to perform, in that the said defendant knowingly attempted to secure legal advice for the Piatt County Board pertaining to budget, levy, and appropriations matters, without the knowledge of or specific authority of the Piatt County State's Attorney" and "knowingly committed the offense of Forgery."

The warrant included the provision of "no contact with the Piatt County Courthouse and not to be present except for official and duly scheduled County Board and committee meetings."

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