Second Strain accuser claims his life has been marked by violent sexual assault
The witness gave the most graphic testimony to date of sexual assault by former St. Tammany Sheriff, Jack Strain.
COVINGTON, Louisiana – Chained and in striped overalls, Jack Strain’s second accuser appeared on the witness stand on Friday.
While his mother watched, Mark Finn gave the most graphic testimony to date in the Strain sex crimes trial, describing years of alleged assault and rape by the former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff in from the age of 6.
“Mom, I’m sorry you had to hear this,” Finn said.
Finn, a self-proclaimed career criminal, broke his silence on alleged Strain abuse in an exclusive interview with WWL-TV and The New Orleans Advocate in 2019. Finn will be the only one of Strain’s accusers that WWL-TV identifies.
Read WWL-TV’s exclusive interview with Finn here.
Referring to Strain as “a monster and a predator,” Finn recalled what he described as the most “degrading” and “shameful” times of his life.
Strain started out as a guardian and father figure for Mark Finn. The 6-year-old boy from Abita Springs came from a poor family and had a strained relationship with his own father. He was spending time in the family home in Strain, where 13-year-old Jack Strain taught him how to milk a cow, took him fishing and let him ride three-wheelers. On that same farm, Finn says Strain raped him.
Strain’s defense attorney Billy Gibbens questioned Finn’s motives for the charges, suggesting that Finn would make a lot of money in a separate civil lawsuit if Strain was found guilty and even tried to negotiate a shorter prison sentence in return for his cooperation.
The abuse started in the pond where they would go swimming, according to Finn. He said Strain would go underwater and put Finn, then 6, into his mouth. Sometimes Finn says that Strain pulls his shorts down and rubs his erect penis against Finn’s anus.
“He was trying to get (his penis) into me – to push it into me – but it just didn’t fit,” Finn said, choking back tears.
Over the next six years, Finn says that Strain’s sexual abuse got worse. At one point, he said that Strain had forced him to give him a blowjob, grabbing his head and making him vomit on his penis. He also claimed that Strain made him perform a blowjob while Finn was milking the cows.
“He would think it was funny,” Finn said, looking at Strain in the courtroom. “I’ll never forget how he laughs.”
Finn said the sexual abuse would get even more violent when the two boys returned to Strain’s room. This is where Finn said Strain started to penetrate his anus with his fingers, eventually putting the head of his penis into the boy’s anus.
“I didn’t even know what sex was,” Finn said. “I didn’t know what was going on. That hurts me.”
Finn claims that Strain would also make the boy penetrate his anus. According to Finn, Strain gave him oral sex so that he would have an erection, then bent over and grabbed the boy’s buttocks, pulling him closer and guiding his penis into his anus. This was another reason he had never told anyone about the abuse until recently.
“Because I’m not gay,” Finn said. “It makes me sick to say that someone took my penis and put it inside of them. It’s degrading… you put a scar on me.
Finn testified that the abuse ended suddenly when he was a young teenager, around the age of 12 or 13. During the last few weeks of his alleged abuse, Finn said that Strain tried to insert his entire penis into his anus.
While looking at a photo of himself as a young boy, projected on the courtroom wall for the jury to see, Finn testified that Strain would force him face down on the bed, cover his buttocks baby oil and try to penetrate it. Finn said he should cover his mouth to stifle the screams.
When he got home, Finn said his anus was bleeding in his bathwater. He said he would turn on the faucet so his family wouldn’t hear him cry while he cleaned the blood stains from his underwear.
Finn was moved during his testimony, sobbing heavily and stopping to do breathing exercises to calm himself down, but it wasn’t until after Gibbens’ cross-examination that he completely lost his temper. Gibbens asked why his charges against his client had changed, showing previous interviews where he claimed Strain never penetrated him – a direct contradiction to what he said in court on Friday.
“You are a man, aren’t you? Finn said getting up from his seat. “Imagine how it would feel as a young man if your virginity was taken by a man when it was supposed to be taken by a woman. “
Jack Strain, on the other hand, watched silently expressionlessly, sometimes taking notes. His son was sitting behind him, as he did every day of the trial.
Gibbens questioned Finn about the allegations he made about drones following him everywhere while he was out of prison and monitoring him at his home, in what appeared to be an attempt to get the jury to question his mental stability. Finn said he always sees drones following him.
The defense also questioned Finn about letters he sent to a federal agent in which he questioned him about a possible civil lawsuit and if she could help him get into a reintegration program. Gibbens suggested that Finn was making up these Strain stories for money and a reduced jail time.
The deputy district attorney responded to the letters during his redirection, noting that Finn had asked for help, but never said he would not cooperate with investigators. He also mentioned that Finn currently faces a life sentence, rendering all the money he would receive in a civil lawsuit if found guilty unnecessary. This case is being pursued by the attorney’s officer in another state to avoid any conflict, Sims said.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, November 2 at 9 a.m.
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