Lakin's attorney changes mind on transferring case to Madison County

Ann Knef Jan. 9, 2007, 10:18am

An attorney who asked that a civil sexual assault lawsuit against his client be moved out of St. Clair County and into Madison County because it was more convenient for witnesses, has changed his mind.

On Monday, the Kuehn Law Firm asked to withdraw a motion to transfer a case against Thomas Lakin, just days after St. Clair County Associate Judge James Radcliffe III agreed that the matter was better resolved in Madison County.

Kuehn's petition claims the motion to transfer was not joined by the other defendants in the suit, the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, and Thomas Lakin's sons, Bradley Lakin and Kristopher Lakin.

"Defendant has presented this Court a meritorious motion, however, after consultation with co-counsel, defendant has concluded that justice would be best served, by all parties involved, by allowing this matter to move foward in St. Clair County before the Honorable James Radcliffe," the petition states.

The petition was signed by Justin A. Kuehn, the son of Clyde Kuehn, who is defending Lakin. Justin Kuehn declined to elaborate, but said that he acted at the behest of his father who was traveling.

A hearing is set at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Lakin, as well as his sons and the Lakin Law Firm, were originally sued in April 2006 by a former employee and her children under fictitious names and under seal in Madison County. After published reports circulated, the suit was withdrawn at plaintiff's request and later re-filed in St. Clair County.

Plaintiffs' attorney Thomas Q. Keefe of Belleville, who preferred the St. Clair County venue, had argued that defense counsel did not meet the burden for transfer because plaintiffs have "substantial right to choose forum."

At the hearing, Keefe said, "You're not going to find a judge" in Madison County to take the case, and it would be "impossible" to get an impartial jury in a county where some 150 witnesses may be called.

Thomas Lakin founded the Lakin Law Firm. He was renowned as a powerful Democrat in Madison County politics and a generous contributor to candidates statewide.

If the sexual assault lawsuit had stayed in Madison County, the court could have requested that the Illinois Supreme Court designate a judge from outside the county to preside over the matter.

The lawsuit claims 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.

The suit also claims that Bradley Lakin schemed to cover up his father's actions.

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