|For Immediate Release
Case # 08WF0749
January 13, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER LAPD VETERAN PLEADS GUILTY TO
TAKING SEXUAL PICTURES OF YOUNG GIRLS
AT STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
WESTMINSTER – A former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) veteran was convicted today of secretly taking sexually suggestive photographs of young girls at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. Ralph Cameron Lakin, 55, La Palma, pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanor counts of secretly photographing another with the intent to sexually gratify involving Jane Doe #1 to Jane Doe #9. He was sentenced to four years of formal probation, 100 hours of community service to be determined by the Orange County Department of Probation, and is subject to sex offender registration.
On May 26, 2007, Lakin took a digital camera to the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival, an annual family event with carnival rides, games, parade floats, contests, live bands, celebrity appearances, food, and merchandise booths. Between 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Lakin took more than 90 digital pictures of young girls, who appear to be between the ages of 4 and 13 years old, who were participants or spectators at the festival and whom he did not know. He took photos of the young girls’ buttocks when they were bending over and of their pubic region while they were sitting with their legs spread in skirts or shorts. There were no pictures taken focusing on boys.
Following the conclusion of the festival parade, Lakin followed 5-year-old Jane Doe #9 and her father from the parade route onto the festival grounds. He attempted to take pictures of the victim as she climbed out of a wagon in a dress. A nearby witness noticed the defendant attempting to take pictures of the victim and alerted Jane Doe # 9’s father. Her father detained the defendant until a Garden Grove police officer responded.
Further investigation revealed that Lakin kept almost 150 sexually suggestive photographs of young girls on his home computer. He had one image of a nude girl, between the age of 2 and 4, with her legs spread apart by an adult. Lakin unsuccessfully attempted to delete these images on his computer two days after he attended the Strawberry Festival.
Lakin retired from the LAPD in February 2008. In May 2007, Lakin was a 10-year veteran of LAPD assigned to the Parker Center reviewing excessive force cases.
Assistant District Attorney James Laird prosecuted this case.