LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles police officer accused of sexually abusing a teenage member of the department’s heralded cadet program was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday after pleading no contest to statutory rape charges, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Robert Cain, 32, pleaded no contest to oral copulation with a minor and having sex with a minor, a little more than a year after he was arrested by former Police Chief Charlie Beck as part of a widening scandal involving the LAPD’s lauded youth program.
As a result of his plea, Cain will have to register as a sex offender. Moreover, the one-time police officer will also will be barred for 10 years from contacting the victim, who was a 15-year-old LAPD cadet at the time of the attacks, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. David Reinert said.
The felony conviction also will prevent Cain from attempting to become a police officer again, his attorney, Bill Seki, confirmed. Cain resigned from the Los Angeles Police Department following his arrest last year.
The girl, whose identity is being withheld by LET due to her age, referred to Cain as a “monster” several times while reading a statement in court Wednesday morning. Furthermore, she accused the former police officer of robbing a piece of her youth and causing her deep emotional suffering and humiliation at school.
“You were an officer, someone who promises to protect people like me from people like you,” she said.
Cain originally was charged with two counts of oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse. He faced a prison exposure up to seven years and eight months had he been convicted of all charges.
Luis Carrillo, an attorney representing the victim’s family in a civil lawsuit against the city, said both he and the girl’s mother were “unhappy” with the light sentence.
“In a way, the criminal justice system does give officers somewhat of a break,” he said. “That happened in this case.”
Nevertheless, Reinert said the district attorney’s office believed the sentence was “appropriate” as it prevented the victim from having to testify against Cain in court.
The sex abuse was uncovered as part of an investigation into the theft of LAPD cruisers and other police equipment in which members of the cadet program were charged.
A subsequent review revealed flaws in how the program was run.
In June 2017, three cadets driving stolen LAPD cruisers were accused of leading police on a wild chase through South Los Angeles that resulted in several collisions.
- 2 STOLEN PATROL UNITS, 2 PURSUITS, 3 COLLISIONS, 3 IN CUSTODY
- LAPD CADETS TURN OUT TO BE SUSPECTS IN MULTIPLE PURSUITS OF STOLEN POLICE CARS
Ultimately, seven cadets were arrested and accused of taking at least three LAPD cruisers on joyrides and stealing police equipment that included Tasers, radios and bulletproof vests.
A search warrant obtained by The Times last year revealed that the cadets had access to the stolen cruisers for at least six weeks, driving as far away as Corona and Santa Clarita. Consequently, three cadets now face criminal charges in connection with the thefts.
Cain’s victim was among the seven arrested, but she will not face criminal charges, Carrillo said.
The son of a former LAPD officer, Cain was with the department for 10 years, working in the Van Nuys and 77th Street divisions before his arrest. He once applied to work as a youth services officer, but his application was denied, according to the Times report.
In a statement, the LAPD said Cain’s plea marked the close of a “disturbing incident within our ranks.”
“As mentioned by former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Cain has tarnished the badge and is being punished accordingly,” the statement read. “While the Department will not comment on the specifics of the sentence, we do believe anytime an officer betrays the trust of the people we serve, it tears away at the fabric of our community.”
The statutory rape case was not Cain’s only legal battle. He was also sentenced to two years in prison on illegal weapons charges in San Bernardino County earlier this year. While serving a search warrant connected to the sex abuse charges, the LAPD found a cache of weapons, some illegally modified, in Cain’s Rancho Cucamonga home.
The earliest Cain could be released from state prison would be early in 2019, Seki said. Based upon this information it appears his sentences will run concurrently.
“While Mr. Cain is not happy and we don’t agree with some of the statements made by the victim, we do believe that this is an opportunity for Mr. Cain to continue moving forward with his life,” Seki said.
However, the LAPD isn’t finished with him. They also presented a case to the district attorney’s office alleging that Cain played a role in the theft of department property, prosecutors said last month. The district attorney’s office did not immediately provide an update on that case Wednesday. Seki said he doesn’t believe police have “any evidence tying” Cain to the thefts.
Police said they began investigating Cain after uncovering text messages with the girl that detailed an inappropriate relationship between the two.
The sexual assaults took place roughly 10 days before the LAPD began investigating the thefts linked to the cadets. Cain picked up the girl at her family’s home, then took her to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Reinert said. The investigation concluded that Cain sexually abused her several times that day, at various places within Los Angeles County, Reinert said.
The victim’s mother spoke during Cain’s sentencing Wednesday morning. She recalled letting Cain into her home that day. She said Cain told her that he was “the officer in charge” of her daughter’s training and that he could help her achieve her dream of becoming a police officer. Cain framed the trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain as a reward for her conduct in the cadet program, the woman said.
“I trusted him because he was an officer of the law,” she said.
The woman then showed a ripped-up stuffed animal, which she claimed Cain gave to her daughter on the day of the abuse. She believed Cain intimidated her into silence. The girl was scared that Cain would get in trouble with the LAPD if she talked about what had happened, and she also was concerned about the gun he was carrying at Magic Mountain, her mother said.
“Why did you do it?” the mother asked. “I want him to answer.”
Cain, who has grown long hair and a beard since his arrest, did not respond or look at the victim or her mother as they spoke.