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Ex-sheriff faces US corruption charges, state sex charges

August 29, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal corruption charges were added Thursday to the multiple state sex crime counts faced by a former Louisiana sheriff.

The federal indictment of Rodney “Jack” Strain, who was sheriff of St. Tammany Parish from 1996-2016, was announced in New Orleans by U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser.

In the new charges, prosecutors say Strain arranged with two former sheriff’s office captains, David Hanson Sr. and Clifford Keen Jr., and others to get payments from a company Strain’s office authorized to run a prisoner work-release program. Prosecutors said the captains couldn’t own the company themselves under sheriff’s office rules, so they arranged for their grown children, identified only by initials in the indictment, to become secret “straw owners” of the company, St. Tammany Workforce Solutions.

They would funnel profits to their fathers, who would make payoffs to Strain, Strasser’s office said in a statement. According to the statement, Hanson and Keen’s offspring took in more than $1.1 million, much of which was transferred back to Hanson and Keen.

Hanson and Keen pleaded guilty in February.

Strain has pleaded not guilty to unrelated state charges, filed in June, including incest and rape involving allegations dating back to when he was a teenager.

He hasn’t entered a plea on the federal charges, which include soliciting and receiving bribes, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. His attorney did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. The most serious of the federal charges carry sentences of as much as 20 years in prison.

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An earlier version of this story was corrected to show that the grown children of the two sheriff’s captains were referred to as “straw owners” of the company, not the captains.

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