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Sex abuse investigation into former St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain sent to St Tammany Parish DA for review

District Attorney Warren Montgomery will now decide whether to prosecute

ST. TAMMANY, La. — The Louisiana State Police has completed its investigation into allegations former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain sexually abused at least four teenagers, and its findings have been turned over to the St Tammany Parish District Attorney for review, according to a spokesman.

St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Warren Montgomery will now have to review the case and decide whether to prosecute. 

The current St. Tammany Sheriff, Randy Smith, has said the sex abuse allegations came to light as federal investigators were working on a corruption case involving a privately-run inmate work release program under Strain.

Multiple sources have said the investigators have been looking into allegations Strain sexually abused at least four teens, boys and girls. It is unknown whether the alleged abuse happened when they were under 17, the age of consent in Louisiana.

Legal experts say sex crimes charges, if any are filed against Strain, would typically be state, not federal in nature.

Charging documents against two of Strain’s top deputies and closest friends, David Hanson Sr., and Clifford "Skip" Keen, implicate the former sheriff in a conspiracy to funnel him money from a privately-run inmate work release program. 

Strain has not been charged with any crime.

Hanson and Keen both face charges of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and soliciting bribes.

The adult children of Hanson and Keen formed a company called St. Tammany Workforce Solutions LLC a few months before Strain awarded the company a no-bid contract to run his inmate work release program in Slidell.
A series of investigative reports by WWLTV and partner newspaper the New Orleans Advocate first raised questions about the arrangement in 2013.

In the work release program, inmates at the end of their sentences worked jobs in the community during the day and stayed at the prison-like barracks overnight.

St. Tammany Workforce Solutions received state tax dollars in the form of a per diem to house the inmates and took nearly 70 percent of the inmates' pay for room and board. Court documents indicate the company made more than $1.2 million in the three years it was in operation.

Federal prosecutors allege the company kicked some of its profits back to Strain and his family members through Hanson and Keen and their children.  

The two men were charged via bill of information, a strong indication they plan to plead guilty and that they are cooperating with federal investigators in the corruption case.

Montgomery’s office did not return a request for comment by the time of publication.

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