L. Thomas Lakin, The Lakin Law Firm, Bradley M. Lakin and Kristopher Lakin were named as defendants in a sexual assault civil suit filed in Madison County Circuit Court April 21.
The file was sealed by then-Madison County Chief Judge Edward Ferguson. However at the plaintiffs' request, new Chief Judge Ann Callis vacated all of the previous orders in the case regarding impoundment and expungement Friday afternoon.
The plaintiffs in the case are John Doe, by his mother and friend, Julie Doe, Joseph Doe, Jane Doe, by her mother and friend, Julie Doe, Mary Doe and James Doe. They are represented by Ed Unsell of East Alton and Thomas Q. Keefe of Swansea.
According to the lawsuit, Tom Lakin, founder of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, was a friend of the minors' family and at various times engaged in one or more of the following willful and wanton acts of misconduct which constitutes childhood sexual abuse of plaintiff John Doe:
The Lakin Law Firm has filed more class action lawsuits than any other firm in Madison County. State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) is a member of the firm.
In March, former Lakin Law Firm attorney Gary Peel was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of child pornography, obstruction of justice and bankruptcy fraud.
The lawsuit claims that Brad Lakin, Tom Lakin's son and president of the Lakin Law Firm, and another son Kristopher Lakin, attempted to conceal evidence of abuse.
"During the year 2005 and subsequent to the foregoing episodes of childhood sexual abuse, L. Thomas Lakin conspired with other members of the Lakin Law Firm, specifically, Bradley Lakin and Kristopher Lakin to secret and spoil evidence of the sexual abuse," the complaint states.
"The allegations of wrongdoing are lies, plain and simple," Brad Lakin said in a statement issued to the press.
His statement continued: "I did not conceal evidence. The people making these allegations demanded 50 million dollards. I refused and am now not surprised they made their lawsuit public.
"Let me be clear, I will not pay a dime.
"I never asked for this case to be kept secret. I look forward to the time when the people who made these allegations in secret are willing to reveal themselves to this community and have to answer for these claims."
The plaintiffs claim that Brad and Kristopher Lakin solicited the mother of John Doe to seek treatment in Canada to avoid detection of sexual abuse by local authorities, destroyed evidence at a home owned by Tom Lakin, and then sold the home.
"The acts were intentional and designed to attempt to protect the reputation of the Lakin Law Firm and its ability to draw clients from the general public to produce a profit in the firm," the complaint alleges.
Plaintiff Joseph Doe, who is now 23, claims that in 1998 and thereafter, Tom Lakin willfully and wantonly had an inappropriate sexual relationship with him.
Jane Doe, another minor plaintiff, claims Tom Lakin used his influence as an adult and lawyer to entice her to his home where he offered her alcoholic beverages and cocaine.
According to the complaint, when Jane Doe was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, Tom Lakin solicited her to have sex with another minor child while in his presence.
"While observing the minor plaintiff and another minor child engage in sex, Tom Lakin gave oral directions to the minor plaintiff and inquired as to whether the sex was pleasurable," the complaint states.
Jane Doe also alleges that between 2005 and 2006, Kristopher Lakin also had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her.
"The minor plaintiff was not capable of consent to the foregoing relationship and said relationship was an act of childhood sexual abuse," the complaint states.
All of the children claim that the Lakin Law Firm along with Brad and Kristopher Lakin conspired to cover up the alleged crimes, which have denied them evidence to prove their claims of childhood sexual abuse, and further denied their chance to recover from his injuries by virtue of the abuser being charged criminally and brought to justice.
The mother of the children, Mary Doe, claims that up until 2005, she was an employee of Tom Lakin and had been for 18 years.
She claims that during her tenure as am employee for Tom Lakin, he knew or should have known that she went through two divorces and was for periods of time, a single mother of three.
Mary Doe claims that Tom Lakin also knew, or should have known, that she was married to James Doe and as such, felt and experienced all of the natural emotions and love for her husband and children and the natural desire to care, support, house, feed and protect them from harm.
She also claims that Tom Lakin knew that there was an extreme disparity between their incomes and wealth, education, sophistication, political connections and stature in the community but began an "extreme and outrageous" series of intentional acts.
According to the complaint, Tom Lakin sexually abused her oldest male child and in an effort to discredit her in the event the abuse was discovered, began a course of conduct directed against her which included filing harassing lawsuits against her and her husband, in which he alleged that she was a drug abuser and an unfit mother. Mary Doe claims Tom Lakin also repossessed vehicles he had given her as gifts.
Mary Doe also alleges that Tom Lakin purchased a house and then rented it to her so he could evict her, filed an eviction in Madison County courts listing the names of her minor children and conducted surveillance on her children at school through improper conversations with their teachers.
She further alleges that Tom Lakin directed the repossession of a car her minor daughter was driving while she was attending class at Roxana High School, threatened her with further lawsuits for slander and punitive damages saying he is "the judge, the sheriff, everything in Madison County."
Mary Doe also claims that Tom Lakin sexually abused her youngest male child and demonstrated an unusual interest in her minor daughter, including giving expensive gifts and trips, and making arrangements to be present on vacations.