Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain pleads not guilty to aggravated rape, incest

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain pleads not guilty to aggravated rape, incest
Jack Strain pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rape and incest. (Source: WVUE)

COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) - Former, long time St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain entered a not guilty plea Thursday morning on an eight-count indictment alleging he had sex with four victims dating back to 1979.

Strain had little to say as he left court.

For many it was a strange sight, the former longtime sheriff of St. Tammany Parish in court as a defendant answering publicly for the first time a myriad of sex charges outlined in an eight-count superseding indictment.

Eight times Strain said not guilty your honor as courtroom clerk read out the eight-count indictment but Strain had a little to say as he left the courthouse.

A grand jury indicted Strain on four counts of aggravated rape involving a victim with the initials SK for alleged offenses which occurred between 1978 and 1981. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated incest, indecent behavior with a juvenile and sexual battery involving three other victims under the age of 12.

The indictment spans 1978 to 2004 when Strain was sheriff.

Pat Finn’s son Mark is one of the accusers. He was recently arrested on drug charges. He said in court that he was molested and later raped.

“I hope God put him where he never hurt another child,” says Finn.

Strain’s attorney insists his client will be cleared.

“Jack plead not guilty. He is not guilty and there will be no other statements outside the court,” says Gibbens.

The case is being presided over by retired judge Jimmy Gaidry who is a veteran of the bench in Terrebonne Parish. He called himself a no-nonsense judge as he set the next hearing in the Strain case for September.

Strain remains free on a $400,000 bond.

If convicted, Strain could face a life sentence on each of the four aggravated rape charges laid out in the eight count indictment.

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