Mark Finn, an Abita Springs man who has accused former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain of molesting him as a child, is back in jail following a drug arrest Tuesday.
Finn, who has spent much of his adult life in prison, was arrested by Slidell police during a traffic stop on Old Spanish Trail about 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, according to spokesman Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau.
Seuzeneau said that Finn, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was found to have multiple baggies of methamphetamine on his person and in the car. He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on a count of possession of a Schedule II narcotic with intent to distribute.
The driver of the vehicle, Joseph Blackledge, 54, of Pearl River, was booked on the same count along with improper lane usage and not wearing a seat belt, as well as on a warrant for failure to appear.
Finn, 49, was most recently released from prison in February. He has said that Strain, whom he has known all his life, sexually molested him while he was underage, with the abuse beginning when he was 6 years old.
Strain is expected to face federal criminal charges for an alleged kickback scheme involving a work-release facility that he turned over to private control while he was sheriff.
Strain has yet to be indicted, but two members of his inner circle, David Hanson and Skip Keen, pleaded guilty in federal court in February to conspiracy to solicit a bribe and to commit wire fraud. The two had been scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle on May 29, but that date has been delayed at the request of the government.
Both are expected to cooperate with federal prosecutors and testify against Strain if necessary.
The investigation into the work-release facility touched off another, more explosive set of allegations: that Strain sexually abused children while in office.
Sources with knowledge of that investigation have said at least four alleged victims, of both genders, have been identified by authorities.
Finn has said he is one of the victims, and that investigators first interviewed him about the matter two years ago, while he was incarcerated in Livingston Parish.
State Police turned over their findings in an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations to the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in January.
DA Warren Montgomery had no comment on Finn’s latest arrest.
Billy Gibbens, Strain's attorney, has called Finn's allegations "completely false" and said his client denies sexually abusing anyone at any time. Pointing to Finn's lengthy criminal record, Gibbens said that he has "zero credibility."
Gibbens had no comment on Finn's arrest this week.
Finn spent much of his time behind bars in the St. Tammany Parish Jail, as a trusty or in a work-release program overseen by the Sheriff's Office, and was given favorable treatment, according to sources familiar with his situation.
Arrest records also show that he would tell officers that they would be in trouble with Strain if they took him into custody.