State continues its investigation of Lakin

Ann Knef Jun. 24, 2010, 5:36am

Tom Lakin

Four years after Madison County State's Attorney Bill Mudge asked for outside assistance to investigate criminal sexual assault allegations against former power broker Tom Lakin, the case remains "ongoing."

Illinois Appellate Prosecutor Charles Colburn declined to elaborate on the record details of an investigation that opened in June 2006 into whether Lakin had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year old boy.

Lakin is serving a six year sentence in a federal prison in Arkansas. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to possessing and distributing cocaine to a person under 21, after federal prosecutors dropped sex charges involving minors. Those charges would have carried a life sentence.

A civil sexual assault lawsuit against Lakin was originally filed under seal in Madison County on April 21, 2006. After the court was challenged to unseal the case, the subject matter set off other court battles and the federal investigation which resulted in Lakin's indictment in April 2007.

Mudge asked for outside help because he perceived a conflict of interest if charges were to be brought against Lakin, the founder of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River. The firm has been renamed LakinChapman. Mudge's former law firm had represented Lakin in the past.

Mudge is running unopposed this November for the circuit court judgeship vacancy that will be created upon the retirement of Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

East Alton attorney Ed Unsell, who represents the plaintiffs in the suit against Lakin has expressed frustration at various times since Lakin was sentenced in October 2008 at the lack of progress being made by the state. The victims' lawsuit is stayed by court order until the state moves forward or dismisses its investigation.

"It's not that difficult of a case," Unsell said in a previous interview. "He (Lakin) either sexually abused a 15 year old boy or he did not."

Colburn has said that there is no statute of limitations concern because of the age of an alleged victim in the investigation.

Lakin is serving his sentence at FCI Forrest City, a low security facility for male offenders in eastern Arkansas. He is scheduled to be released Nov. 30, 2013.

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