After a five-year stay, the sexual abuse civil claim against disgraced Illinois attorney Tom Lakin will proceed as a St. Clair County judge gave it the go-ahead.
The plaintiff had claimed that he was sexually abused by Lakin when he was just 15 years old, reports the Chicago Tribune. But as there was a concurrent federal criminal case against Lakin for holding cocaine-fueled sex parties at his home with minors, the civil case was put on hold.
In 2008, Lakin was sentenced to six years in prison for the federal charges. Two months ago, Lakin also pleaded no contest to state charges for molesting a minor, the plaintiff in the civil case. Now as Lakin sits in jail, and with his criminal cases finished for the time-being, the former attorney will finally face his civil charges.
Generally, victims of abuse and other crimes can bring both criminal and civil charges. If found guilty, criminal charges usually result in jail time. In contrast, civil charges usually result in monetary penalties.
As part of the criminal case, Lakin lost six years of his freedom. So as the civil case ramps up in the Tom Lakin sex abuse lawsuit, the disgraced attorney can stand to lose a lot of money as well.
Along with the criminal and civil penalties, victims of abuse should know that perhaps the most important benefit of stepping forward and bringing charges against their tormentor is the fact that they can stop future abuse by the perpetrator. Sexual abusers often have many victims, and it only takes one victim to put the abuser away.
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- Archdiocese of Chicago Lawsuit: Pay Sex Abuse Victim $3.2M (FindLaw's Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog)