Sexual assault complaint against Lakin refiled in St. Clair County

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 14, 2006, 7:04am

Tom Lakin

Brad Lakin

Kris Lakin

Lakin Law Firm in Wood River

A civil sexual assault lawsuit has been refiled in St. Clair County Circuit Court against powerful Democrat attorney and founder of the Lakin Law Firm, Tom Lakin, as well as his sons Brad Lakin and Kristopher Lakin, and the law firm.

The suit was filed Tuesday by Swansea attorney Thomas Q. Keefe, who represents plaintiffs John Doe, by his mother and friend, Julie Doe, Joseph Doe, Jane Doe, by her mother and friend, Julie Doe, Mary Doe and James Doe.

Attorney Ed Unsell of East Alton, who was the lead plaintiff attorney in the original lawsuit filed under seal and under fictitious plaintiffs' and defendants' names in Madison County April 21, is not listed as an attorney of record in the new suit. Unsell is a defendant in a counter-suit filed by Brad Lakin on May 16 alleging malicious prosecution and extortion.

The case was filed in St. Clair County rather than Madison County because of Lakin's close ties to the Madison County judiciary, courtroom observers believe.

In a related event, Madison County State's Attorney Bill Mudge has asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate criminal allegations against Tom Lakin. Mudge has said that a conflict of interest prevents him from prosecuting a case against Lakin because his former law firm once represented Tom Lakin.

The first sexual assault complaint was hidden from public view when it was sealed by then-Madison County Chief Judge Edward Ferguson.

After a report was published about the lawsuit, it was withdrawn at plaintiff's request on May 5 and expunged by Judge Daniel Stack who was assigned to the case. New Chief Judge Ann Callis vacated all of the previous orders in the case regarding impoundment and expungement on May 12.

The suit filed earlier today claims that Tom Lakin willfully and intentionally engaged in acts of misconduct that constitute childhood sexual abuse against Jane, John and Joseph Doe.

Kris Lakin also is accused of childhood sexual abuse against Jane and John Doe.

The suit also accuses all of the defendants of a conspiracy to "conceal and hide the sexual abuse by tacitly or explicitly agreeing to commit overt acts to secret and spoil evidence."

They claim the Lakins solicited the mother of minors to seek treatment in Canada to avoid detection of sexual abuse by local authorities, destroyed evidence at a home owned by Tom Lakin, and then sold the home.

The Does also claim that the Lakins' countersuit filed against them on May 17 is not well grounded in law and fact and also revealed the identity of the victims of the sexual assault further compounding the injustice.

"The acts were intentional and designed to attempt to protect the reputation of the Lakin Law Firm and its ability to draw clients from the general public to produce a profit in the firm," the complaint alleges.

Mary Doe, the mother of the minor children and James Doe, the step-father, claim Tom Lakin filed harassing lawsuits against them, evicted them and their family from their rental home he owned, conducted surveillance on their children and had conversations with their teachers, repossessed a car their minor daughter was driving while she was at school and threatened her with further lawsuits for slander and punitive damages.

The new suit is less graphic than the suit filed in Madison County.

That suit claimed Tom Lakin had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he engaged in oral sex with the minor child, had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited minor females to have sex with the minor plaintiff in his presence, had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited two adult females to have sex with minor plaintiff in his presence, and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited the minor plaintiff to have sex with various females while he gratified his own sexual desires by masturbating while watching the minor plaintiff.

Jane Doe, one of the minor plaintiffs, claimed Tom Lakin used his influence as an adult and lawyer to entice her to his home where he offered her alcoholic beverages and cocaine.

According to the first complaint, when Jane Doe was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, Tom Lakin solicited her to have sex with another minor child while in his presence.

"While observing the minor plaintiff and another minor child engage in sex, Tom Lakin gave oral directions to the minor plaintiff and inquired as to whether the sex was pleasurable," the complaint stated.

Jane Doe also alleges that between 2005 and 2006, Kristopher Lakin also had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her.

"The minor plaintiff was not capable of consent to the foregoing relationship and said relationship was an act of childhood sexual abuse," the complaint states.

All of the children claim that the Lakin Law Firm along with Brad and Kristopher Lakin conspired to cover up the alleged crimes, which have denied them evidence to prove their claims of childhood sexual abuse, and further denied their chance to recover from his injuries by virtue of the abuser being charged criminally and brought to justice.

The mother of the children, Mary Doe, claims that up until 2005, she was an employee of Tom Lakin and had been for 18 years.

She claimed that during her tenure as am employee for Tom Lakin, he knew or should have known that she went through two divorces and was for periods of time, a single mother of three.

Mary Doe also claimed that Tom Lakin also knew, or should have known, that she was married to James Doe and as such, felt and experienced all of the natural emotions and love for her husband and children and the natural desire to care, support, house, feed and protect them from harm.

She further claimed that Tom Lakin knew that there was an extreme disparity between their incomes and wealth, education, sophistication, political connections and stature in the community but began an "extreme and outrageous" series of intentional acts.

According to the first complaint, Tom Lakin sexually abused her oldest male child and in an effort to discredit her in the event the abuse was discovered, began a course of conduct directed against her which included filing harassing lawsuits against her and her husband, in which he alleged that she was a drug abuser and an unfit mother. Mary Doe claims Tom Lakin also repossessed vehicles he had given her as gifts.

She also claimed that Tom Lakin sexually abused her youngest male child and demonstrated an unusual interest in her minor daughter, including giving expensive gifts and trips, and making arrangements to be present on vacations.

"The allegations of wrongdoing are lies, plain and simple," Brad Lakin said in a statement issued to the press after the first suit was filed.

His statement continued: "I did not conceal evidence. The people making these allegations demanded 50 million dollars. I refused and am now not surprised they made their lawsuit public."

"Let me be clear, I will not pay a dime.

"I never asked for this case to be kept secret. I look forward to the time when the people who made these allegations in secret are willing to reveal themselves to this community and have to answer for these claims."

Five days after the sexual assault case was made public, attorney Rex Carr of East St. Louis filed suit against the accusers claiming his well known clients were victims of a $50 million extortion scheme.

Bradley Lakin, the Lakin Law Firm and Kristopher Lakin are seeking damages in excess of $30 million from the Does and Ed Unsell.

According to the Lakins' complaint, the defendants began a conspiracy sometime in 2005 to maliciously prosecute a civil action containing multiple counts against them in order to extort large sums of money from them.

The suit claims that on April 21, the defendants filed a case without probable cause and then sealed the case without legal justification.

"The charges made by these conspirator defendants' where wholly and completely false and maliciously stated," the suit states.

The Lakins claim that the defendants intended to force them to pay large sums of money to them so that they could avoid the publicity that would result from the case and in return promised to keep the case under seal.

According to the suit, when the Lakins refused to pay money, the case was unsealed and the malicious charges were made public.

"By reason of the malicious prosecution, plaintiffs have lost, and will in the future lose large sums of money in income and profit from the practice of law and their respective occupations," the complaint alleges.

The Lakins claimed that the defendants also abused the court procedures by withdrawing the suit on the pretext that they wanted to protect the minors and caused the suit to be expunged from the records of the court because the defendants knew that it should never have been sealed at the time of filing.

The Lakins also claim that on May 11, the defendants demanded a payment of $50 million by May 22, or the case would be filed again, this time not under seal.

L. Thomas Lakin is not a plaintiff in the case filed by Carr. The suit does not refute allegations made against Thomas Lakin in the defendants' April 21 suit.

The case had been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian but he recused himself the day after the case was filed. It has been reassigned to Judge Stack.

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