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Potential jurors questioned as sex abuse trial of Jack Strain begins

Jack Strain is accused of four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of incest, one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and one count of sexual battery.

COVINGTON, La. — Potential jurors in the sex abuse trial of former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain faced questions including their opinion of parish law enforcement and whether it would matter to them if the former sheriff didn't take the stand.

The potential jurors, eight of whom were seated by 5 p.m., were also asked if they themselves had been the victim of sexual abuse.

Strain faces 4 counts of aggravated rape, 2 counts of aggravated incest, indecent behavior with a juvenile and sexual battery.

The allegations against the former sheriff were unearthed during an investigation into a work release program under his direction during his time as sheriff.

Most of the jurors questioned by Strain's attorney said they would give St. Tammany law enforcement a rating between 7 and 8, but one potential juror said he would only rate them as a 5 or 6, saying that "we wouldn't be here if they were a 10."

A member of the Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, who was an observer in court, said that the next two weeks, would "probably be the most disturbing testimony the people of St. Tammany Parish have heard in a very long time."

Background:

Strain pleaded not guilty to the alleged incidents that happened as far back as 1975 when Strain was a teenager. The most recent allegations are from the early 2000s when Strain was serving as sheriff.

Strain has been free on bond since his arrest in June 2019 and now faces life in prison if convicted.

The trial will take place at the 22nd Judicial Courthouse in Covington under retired Lafourche Parish Judge Bruce Simpson. Every other Northshore judge was recused from the case.

The state trial is expected to last up to two weeks but Strain’s time in court won’t be over.

After this trial, he’s set to face trial in federal court this December for charges related to an alleged kickback scheme at a work release program during his time as sheriff.

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