COVINGTON (WGNO)– The sex abuse trial including multiple juveniles against former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain continued today with one of the alleged abuse victims’ counselor testifying.
Powerful testimony ended the day with a family member claiming he was inappropriately touched in high school by Strain one night after having too much to drink, but prosecutors later said that the family member changed his story admitting to them that the DA’s Office pressured him into saying he was molested because they need more victims. He later said he did that because he didn’t want to testify in court.
In addition to that witness, Thomas Mitchell the counselor to one of the alleged rape victims—Mark Finn today saying he diagnosed Finn with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mitchell went on to testify that Finn experienced nightmares of drowning that could be related to the claims that the sexual abuse in a pond when Finn was just 6-years old. When cross-examined by Jack Strain’s attorney’s, they tried to prove his credentials as a counselor were lacking, and that the counselor had a strong working relationship with the FBI which they questioned. The defense challenged that Finn had a tough upbringing that contributed to his troubles and criminal history. As the day continued, a string of witnesses took the stand including a trooper with the state police who was working with the FBI investigation on the inmate work release program when the investigation into sexual abuse began.
If convicted on molestation and rape charges, Strain could face life in prison.