Steve Korris Oct. 31, 2013, 8:58am


Former lawyer Tom Lakin of WoodRiver wants those who accuse him of sexual misconduct to specify dates and places of the actions they allege.

Lakin sought the information on Oct. 23, in a motion for a more definite and certain statement in a civil suit that the family of a former employee filed.

Six persons sued Lakin in Madison County in 2006, as John Doe, Mary Doe, Joseph Doe, Jane Doe, Julie Doe and James Doe.

They claimed he committed sexual acts with minors.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis, who has since resigned, transferred the suit to St. Clair County.

Federal prosecutors then charged Lakin with sexual offenses and drug distribution.

He pleaded guilty to the drug charge, and prosecutors dismissed the sex charges.

In 2011, on temporary release from prison, he registered as a sex offender in criminal proceedings before Madison County Circuit Judge Charles Romani.

Now he has served his sentence, and he currently stays in a halfway house.

His impending return revived the suit, and the Does moved for summary judgment.

One of their lawyers, Ed Unsell of Alton, argued that Lakin’s registration as a sex offender constituted an admission of liability.

Lakin’s lawyer, Clyde Kuehn of Belleville, responded that he registered as a sex offender in order to defeat the civil suit.

On Oct. 2, Kuehn wrote that special state prosecutor Charles Colburn made “incredibly favorable concessions” in arranging Lakin’s registration.

“The state would never have obtained any form of resolution with regard to the sundry sexual misconduct accusations being made against Tom Lakin by the plaintiffs without agreeing to forego any admission of guilt from Tom Lakin,” Kuehn wrote.

“The criminal proceedings in Madison County did not truly test anything about the merit of the allegations in the plaintiffs’ complaint.

“In fact, those Madison County criminal proceedings were specifically designed to end an unknown specter of menacing criminal liability while at the same time allowing Tom Lakin the freedom and opportunity to actually litigate in the future.

“The state’s offer became too good to refuse when the prosecutor ceased to insist upon a plea of guilty and agreed to a stipulated bench trial without any admission of guilt for the offer then allowed Lakin to wipe the slate clean criminally without providing a cake walk to the civil plaintiffs who were waiting in the wings.

“Lakin could ensure his future freedom, avoid the risk of potentially spending the rest of his life in a state penitentiary, and maintain his innocence without an admission of guilt of any kind, simply by foregoing a true test of the state’s evidence.”

The Does’ other attorney Thomas Q. Keefe, III, responded to Kuehn’s argument on Oct. 19, saying it was “absurd.”

Robert Sprague of Belleville, who represents Lakin along with Kuehn, filed the Oct. 23 motion for a more definite and certain statement.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf presides over the case. He has set oral arguments for Nov. 21 at 1:30 p.m.


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