COVINGTON, La. — A judge delayed the arraignment of former St Tammany Sheriff Rodney “Jack” Strain for the sex crimes charges against him to August 15, after Strain’s lead attorney asked to push it back because he'll be out of town on “previously scheduled travel.”
On Tuesday, Judge Edward “Jimmy” Gaidry agreed to a request from Strain's attorney, Billy Gibbens, to delay the arraignment date until at least mid-July, according to the court clerk.
Louisiana State Police arrested Strain on two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated incest, one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile and a count of sexual battery, after a grand jury indicted him in June.
St. Tammany District Attorney Warren Montgomery said that, if convicted, Strain would face a mandatory life sentence.
All the judges of the 22nd Judicial District Court stepped aside from handling the case in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, writing in their recusal order, “This bench has served this jurisdiction as elected officials or in some other legal capacity during defendant’s term of elected office in St Tammany Parish.”
Court records show on June 25, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed retired Judge Edward “Jimmy” Gaidry to handle the case after all the St Tammany Judges stepped aside.
According to the indictment, the sex crimes charges against Strain stem from the sexual abuse of four alleged victims from 1975 to 2004, when Strain was St Tammany sheriff.