Former Louisiana sheriff charged with sex crimes
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former Louisiana sheriff has been arrested on multiple sex crime charges based on allegations dating back to the 1970s.
St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced the indictment of former St. Tammany Sheriff Rodney Jack Strain Jr. at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Covington.
Bond was set at $400,000.
In a news release, Montgomery said the allegations involve four victims. Charges include two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated incest, sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile.
Conviction of aggravated rape carries a life sentence.
The release says one of the aggravated rape allegations dates back to a period between Jan. 1, 1975 and Sept. 8,1981, meaning Strain could have been anywhere from about 12 to 18 years old.
“Strain also is accused of committing aggravated incest on a third victim and committing indecent behavior with the same victim, all between April 1, 1996, and July 1, 2002. In addition, Strain is accused of committing aggravated incest and sexual battery on a fourth victim on or about June 1, 2004,” the release said.
The district attorney declined to respond to questions about the case.
Louisiana’s code of criminal procedure sets the limit for prosecuting serious non-death penalty felonies at six years, although it does provide extensions in some cases for sex offenses.
Strain was elected sheriff in 1995. He lost a 2015 re-election bid.
His attorney did not immediately respond to an email query.
Tuesday’s indictment in state court comes as aspects of his tenure as sheriff are under federal scrutiny. Two of his former deputes pleaded guilty in February to “conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery,” according to court records.