Jury deliberating in sex abuse trial of Jack Strain

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COVINGTON (WGNO)– The jury is now deliberating. We are close to finding out the fate of former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain.

Strain’s accused of molestation, aggravated rape, incest, along with other charges.

Around 2 p.m., jury began deliberation and now hours later there is still no verdict.

To recap both the defense and the state District Attorney’s made their closing arguments. Jack Strain is accused of 8 counts of sexual abuse involving juveniles over the years spanning back 40 years ago involving 5 victims including family members. Some of the alleged victims even went on to work for Strain as adults at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors said, “Jack Strain was the ultimate manipulator, by keeping them quiet, and keeping them employed, that’s how he could get away with it.”

Strain’s defense attorney fired back saying the government and the FBI “manufactured the case against Strain.” His attorney said jurors must decide if the state proved without reasonable doubt that Strain is guilty. They also said there were holes in the victims stories. Strain’s attorney Billy Gibbons urged jurors to pay close attention to their recollections of text message exchanges between Strain and the alleged victims to see how close of relationships they had with Strain before the FBI involvement in 2017.

Collin Sims with the State fired back saying all the victims confessed to the abuse to someone close to them in their lives prior to the FBI investigation in 2017. Sims said the victims are not lying and he said, “This isn’t a casting call for who wants to be raped by Jack.”

There’s one alleged victim, Mark Finn who accused Jack of aggravated rape when he was just 6-years old. His mother was in court today and gave this emotional response about the trial.

Pat Finn, mother of Mark Finn, one of the alleged victims said, “I talked to him a few minutes ago and he said, Mama, I’m so sorry I had to put you through this. I said no Mark I’m sorry I wasn’t there and I didn’t know what you went through. You know I will never forgive that man, but I hope someday, I can be of myself because I blame myself.”

If convicted of aggravated rape, Strain could spend life in prison.

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