COVINGTON, La. (AP) — A former Louisiana sheriff has pleaded not guilty to multiple sex charges.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain entered his plea Thursday before ad hoc Judge Edward "Jimmy" Gaidry at the parish courthouse in Covington. He faces state charges that he raped underage boys and committed acts of incest — allegations dating back to the 1970s.

Gaidry, a retired appellate court judge, was appointed to hear the case when the entire 22nd Judicial District Court bench recused itself.

The 56-year-old Strain has been indicted on eight counts — four of them aggravated rape charges that, if convicted, would mean a life sentence.

Outside the court, Strain's attorney, Billy Gibbens, made a brief statement: "Jack pleaded not guilty today. He is not guilty."

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Information from: The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, c