Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
May 16, 2008
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER LAPD VETERAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND CHILD ANNOYANCE AFTER TAKING SEXUAL PICTURES OF YOUNG GIRLS AT 2007 STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
GARDEN GROVE – A former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) veteran was arrested and charged today with felony possession of child pornography and multiple counts of child annoyance following an extensive joint investigation by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD). Ralph Cameron Lakin, 53, La Palma, was charged with one count of felony possession of child pornography involving Jane Doe #10, eight counts of misdemeanor child annoyance involving Jane Does #1 to 9, and one misdemeanor count of attempted child annoyance involving Jane Doe #9. If convicted, Lakin faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison on the felony charge plus a year in jail for each misdemeanor charge. The OCDA is asking the bail be set at $20,000. Lakin is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, in West Justice Center, Westminster. Time and department will be determined later.
On May 26, 2007, Lakin is accused of taking a digital camera to the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is an annual family event with carnival rides, games, parade floats, contests, live bands, celebrity appearances, and food and merchandise booths. Between 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Lakin is accused of taking more than 90 digital pictures of young girls, who were participants or spectators at the festival and whom he did not know, who appear to be between the ages of four and 13 years old. He is accused of taking 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 is accused of following 5-year-old Jane Doe #9 and her father from the parade route onto the festival grounds. He is then accused of attempting 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 GGPD officer responded.
OCDA and GGPD conducted further investigation into this matter. In the defendant’s La Palma home, Lakin is accused of keeping almost 150 sexually suggestive photographs of young girls on his computer. He is accused of possessing one image of a nude girl, between the age of two to four, with her legs spread apart by an adult. Lakin is accused of unsuccessfully attempting 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 is prosecuting this case.