COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) - Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain could spend the rest of his life in prison if he is found guilty of the rape, incest charges brought against him in a grand jury indictment Tuesday (June 11).
Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain has been arrested for rape and incest. | Photo Source: St. Tammany Parish Jail
Warren Montgomery, the parish’s district attorney, said the case against Strain involves four victims. The DA said they first learned about the allegations against Strain in 2017, during a separate investigation.
“In the fall of 2017, the Louisiana State Police, the FBI, and the IRS presented me with evidence that former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain had engaged in sex crimes,” Montgomery said in a news conference.
One of the alleged victims is Mark Finn, who said he was just 6-years-old when he was first molested by a then 12-year-old Strain. The abuse continued for years, Finn said.
“This happened at the age of 6-years-old to 12-years-old,” Finn recalled. “He started off molesting me, and it got to the point of raping me.”
Finn’s account appears to line up with the indictment’s second count -- an aggravated rape charge against Strain dating back to 1975. According to the indictment, the victim was under the age of 12 at the time of the alleged rape and is only referred to by the initials M.F.
FOX 8′s Rob Masson spoke to Finn last February as Finn was on his way to talk with the DA about the case.
“He used to overpower me, hold me down and everything. In ponds, in vehicles, you know in his room. A lot of stuff people need to know what he [did] to me because I’m for sure that there are some other victims out there," Finn said. "That’s what I want to try to do out of this is help some other people out of this before it happens to somebody else.”
Finn is a convicted felon who is currently in jail on a drug charge and said he’s been talking to investigators, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshal, since 2017.
“I hope we get him locked up for what he has done to me before he does it to somebody else,” Finn said. "Jack Strain is one sick individual. I’m going to go all the way with the allegations, everything he did to me as a kid, I want the world to know that we don’t need this kind of person on the streets right now.”
Strain is also accused of abusing three other victims, including two relatives.
"If found guilty of the charges, Mr. Strain will be sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison,” Montgomery said.
The indictment charges Strain in a total of six charges.
In the first two counts, Strain faces charges of aggravated rape -- involving two different victims, both under the age of 12. Both alleged rapes happened in 1975 and 1979.
Counts three and four allege Strain committed aggravated incest and indecent behavior with a juvenile, reportedly starting in 1996.
The fifth count accuses Strain of committing aggravated incest against another relative that reportedly happened in 2004. According to the indictment, the victim was under the age of 18.
In the sixth and final count, Strain is charged with sexual battery against that same victim, again in 2004.
“I have been waiting for this to happen," Finn said. "While he was the sheriff the whole time, he controlled me and my family. I just didn’t think anyone was going to believe me.”
Strain’s attorney Billy Gibbens declined to comment Tuesday night. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Strain remained in the St. Tammany Parish Jail in lieu of a $400,000 bond.
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