Status conference set Dec. 5 in civil suit against Lakin

Ann Maher Oct. 26, 2011, 11:00am

A status conference hearing is set Dec. 5 in a civil lawsuit against Thomas Lakin in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Lakin admitted in Madison County court on Tuesday that he committed sexual abuse on a 15 year old boy, and he confirmed a plea agreement requiring him to register as a sex offender when he completes a prison sentence on cocaine distribution charges.

He did not plead guilty, but he submitted a stipulation of facts similar to a guilty plea at a hearing before Circuit Judge Charles Romani.

East Alton attorney Edward Unsell represents plaintiffs in the civil suit that was filed in 2006.

It accuses Lakin of engaging in child sexual abuse against three plaintiffs. It also accuses Lakin of transporting a male minor to Malibu, Calif. with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Brad Lakin, Tom Lakin's son and president of LakinChapman, and another son, Kristopher Lakin, are also named in the lawsuit on allegations they attempted to conceal evidence of abuse. The Lakin Law Firm (renamed LakinChapman) is also named as a defendant.

The lawsuit had been stayed since 2007 while prosecutors investigated.

In October 2008, Lakin pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing cocaine to a person under 21 and to maintaining a drug-involved premises, in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping sex charges that carried a sentence of life in prison. He was sentenced to six years in prison on the drug charges.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson presides in the civil case against Lakin.

The December status conference will, among other things, consider admissions of fact and documents, discovery issues, third parties, scheduling of settlement conferences and whether the case will be jury or non-jury.

Unsell, who had expressed frustration over delays in bringing state charges against Lakin, said he was glad the state finally took action.

"It's about time," he said on Oct. 24, the date Illinois Appellate Prosecutor Charles Colburn filed charges in Madison County.

Colburn was appointed in 2006 to investigate Lakin. He was brought in after former Madison County State's Attorney, and current circuit judge, Bill Mudge, cited a conflict of interest and recused himself from the matter.

Unsell's lawsuit was originally filed under seal in Madison County in May 2006. It was later transferred to St. Clair County.

The case number is 06-L-363.

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