Ex-sheriff guilty in state sex case, awaits US fraud trial

Posted at 12:16 PM, November 9, 2021 and last updated 7:43 PM, July 17, 2023

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — A former Louisiana sheriff is facing life in prison after being convicted of multiple sexual abuse charges.

New Orleans-area news outlets report that former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was convicted Monday. The charges involved juvenile victims and included four counts of aggravated rape, which carries a mandatory life sentence. The allegations included crimes that took place before and during his time as sheriff.

Strain, 58, served as St. Tammany sheriff for two decades, losing a bid for a sixth term in 2015.

Strain is also facing federal charges relating to an inmate work-release contract. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which has ties to the state sex charges.

A co-defendant who pleaded guilty in the federal case became a witness in the state case, testifying that he had been molested by Strain as a child. That victim said that, as an adult, he had gone to work for Strain at the sheriff’s office when he was deeply in debt. The man said Strain pressured him to join the work-release scheme.

The jury heard testimony from five men who said Strain shattered their childhoods with acts that still haunt them. One said the abuse contributed to a substance abuse problem.

A counselor for one victim testified that the man had developed PTSD and had nightmares about the abuse.

Another accuser was a family member of Strain who said he was molested while he was a sophomore in high school.

“The evidence was compelling, overwhelming and convincing,” District Attorney Warren Montgomery said during a news conference after the verdict.