Hearings set in Lakin sexual assault case

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 10, 2006, 3:11pm

Circuit Judge Robert LeChien

Circuit Judge Dan Stack

Two area judges will have difficult decisions to make in the near future as hearings begin in the sexual assault case against powerful attorney Tom Lakin and his sons.

On Aug. 16, Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack will hear a motion to dismiss a countersuit filed Tom Lakin's sons Brad and Kristopher Lakin. In their suit against Ed Unsell -- an attorney representing clients who allege Tom Lakin, among other things, sexually abused a 15-year-old boy -- they claim they are victims of a $50 million extortion scheme.

Tom Lakin is not part of the countersuit.

On Sept. 20, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien will decide if he will transfer the sexual assault case against the Lakins to Madison County.

Unsell filed suit against the Lakins on April 21, in Madison County claiming Tom Lakin willfully and intentionally engaged in acts of misconduct that constitute childhood sexual abuse against Jane, John and Joseph Doe.

The lawsuit also claims that Brad Lakin, president of the Lakin Law Firm, and Kristopher Lakin, attempted to conceal evidence of abuse.

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

The 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After a report was published about the lawsuit, it was withdrawn at plaintiff's request on May 5 and expunged by Judge Daniel Stack who was assigned to the case.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.

On June 14, the same case was re-filed in St. Clair County.

However, on May 16, Rex Carr, representing the Lakins, filed the suit against Unsell and his clients alleging malicious prosecution and extortion. The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian, he recused himself and Callis assigned it to Stack.

Unsell claims Tom Lakin's attorney asked for a settlement demand regarding the highly publicized civil sexual assault lawsuit filed against Lakin and his sons originally under seal on April 21.

Unsell will argue to Stack that the Lakins cannot prove a conspiracy to withdraw and expunge the lawsuit solely as an attempt to extort money because Bill Lucco, Tom Lakin's attorney, requested and obtained the withdrawal and expungement of the lawsuit.

Unsell claims a reporter told him that his newspaper was going to file a motion to unseal the case and he then placed a call to Lucco who instructed Unsell to "do something quick."

Lucco thought the media would be able to convince a judge to unseal the case and wanted Unsell to withdraw the suit and have it expunged in order to protect the Lakins.

Unsell also claims the settlement demand was only made after Lucco asked for a "global settlement."

Unsell also is asking the court for sanctions against the Lakins and their attorney, Rex Carr of East St. Louis, because they violated the pleading requirements of Supreme Court Rule 137.

LeChien will decide if he will transfer the sexual assault case against the Lakins to Madison County.

Clyde Kuehn of Belleville and Scott Rosenblum of Clayton, Mo., Tom Lakin's attorneys in the sexual assault case, claim the suit has no practicable connection or nexus to St. Clair County.

They contend the complaint does not state where the alleged sexual assault took place and also note that all of the parties involved in the litigation reside in neighboring Madison County.

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