COVINGTON, La. — Ex. St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, indicted and arrested this week on sex crime charges including rape, incest, sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile, walked out of the St. Tammany Parish Jail Friday afternoon, after posting bond.
Strain had little to say when questioned by a battery of reporters, mostly stating that he had a "lot to say" but would do it in court.
"There are plenty of comments to be made, whenever we go to court," said Strain.
The ex-sheriff needed to post a $400,000 bond.
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What began as an investigation into a kickback scheme spawned a sex crimes investigation launched in 2017 involving allegations that employees of a work-release program run by Strain’s office had been sexually abused by Strain, according to sources familiar with the probe.
Investigators have identified at least four people alleging abuse by Strain over a time frame that spans decades.
It’s unclear if any of Tuesday’s charges are related to Mark Finn, a former inmate who alleges Strain began sexually abusing him more than 40 years ago, when Strain was a teenager and Finn was just 6-years-old.
WWL-TV and partner newspaper The New Orleans Advocate first began to expose problems with two work release programs in 2013, including raising questions about the no-bid contracts Strain awarded to hand-picked contractors to run them.
Finn told WWL-TV and The Advocate in February that FBI agents came to see him in jail two years ago and asked him about financial crimes, but he ended up telling them about alleged sexual abuse instead.
Billy Gibbens, Strain's attorney, has said Finn’s allegations are “false.”
Public records showed Strain spent nearly $500,000 to remodel the building that housed his Slidell work release program before turning the operation over to a private company owned, in part, by the adult children of two of his top deputies, facts first revealed in WWL-TV's investigative reports.