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LAPD officer accused of sexually abusing teen cadet took girl to Six Flags on day of assaults, sources say

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Los Angeles police cadets line up for a June graduation ceremony, just days after a widening scandal began to surround the program.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles police officer accused of having sex with a 15-year-old member of the department’s cadet program took the victim to Six Flags Magic Mountain on the day of the alleged sexual assaults, according to three sources with knowledge of the case.

Robert Cain — who was charged with multiple sex offenses in connection with the ongoing LAPD cadet scandal last month — took the 15-year-old girl to the Valencia theme park on June 14, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

In the days after the trip, Cain became anxious about his connection to a girl, whom he did not identify, according to his mother, Maria Cain. The 31-year-old officer did not describe his relationship with the girl but expressed worry about the situation just days before he was handcuffed by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, she said.

“Oh Mom, there is a problem with a girl,” Cain said, according to this mother. “I have a bad feeling about it.”

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Maria Cain said her son had taken a girl to Magic Mountain that weekend but flatly denied that he had sexually abused a teenager or was aware cadets were stealing equipment. The department, she said, is using her son as a “scapegoat” in the larger cadet scandal.

The trip to Magic Mountain took place the same day that the LAPD learned several of its cruisers had been stolen by teenage members of the cadet program, sparking an investigation that found cadets had allegedly been pilfering LAPD equipment, including tasers, radios and a bulletproof vest.

The investigation into the thefts revealed the sex abuse allegations against Cain, Beck has said.

Cain picked the 15-year-old cadet up from her South Los Angeles home on the day of the trip, and her family knew she was going to the theme park with him, according to two of the sources.

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He was charged July 20 with two counts each of oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He is accused of sexually assaulting the girl in three separate incidents at three different locations on June 14.

Cain’s attorney, Bill Seki, did not respond to a request seeking comment. Cain has yet to enter a plea in response to the sex abuse allegations.

Seki had previously told The Times his client was being made to take the fall for larger problems within the cadet program.

“They wanted a scapegoat, and Robert has become that scapegoat,” Seki said.

Josh Rubenstein, an LAPD spokesman, said he could not comment on the specifics of the allegations against Cain, citing a series of ongoing investigations into the matter. The department has yet to present charges to the district attorney’s office related to the theft of equipment by cadets, he said.

Asked about Cain’s mother’s claim that her son is being used as a “scapegoat,” Rubenstein pointed to the wide-ranging internal reviews launched by Beck when news of the cadet scandal first came to light.

No other officers have been accused of wrongdoing, he said. But he cautioned that probes launched by internal affairs, the elite Robbery-Homicide Division and the Major Crimes Division remain active.

The scandal, which has sparked both an internal review of the department’s signature youth program and calls for an audit of all of the LAPD’s youth programs, erupted on June 14, when three cadets were caught joy-riding in stolen cruisers. The teens led officers on two separate chases through South L.A. that ended in crashes.

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Since then, seven cadets, including the girl police say was sexually abused, have been arrested in connection with the theft of LAPD property. All but one were juveniles, police have said. Beck suspended the cadet program at the 77th Street and Pacific divisions, where the cadets accused in the thefts were assigned, and expelled all seven from the program.

Recently, the California Highway Patrol confirmed two of the cadets were also members of the CHP’s Explorer program, according to Lt. Saul Gomez, a spokesman for the CHP’s Southern Division. An internal review concluded that no other CHP explorers were involved in the LAPD’s cadet scandal and that no equipment had been stolen from the CHP, Gomez said.

Cain remains jailed at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, where he is awaiting trial on 10 felony weapons charges, including possession of assault weapons. Los Angeles police officers searched Cain’s home in connection with the sex abuse charges last month and seized more than 100 weapons, five of which are the subject of prosecution.

Cain pleaded not guilty to the weapons offenses last month. His attorney has said prosecutors will likely try to resolve the weapons charges before trying him for the sex abuse allegations in Los Angeles County. He is scheduled to appear in San Bernardino County on the weapons charges Aug. 15, according to court records. An arraignment on the sex abuse charges in Los Angeles has yet to be scheduled.

Robert Cain, 31, is charged with four sex crimes in Los Angeles
Robert Cain, 31, is charged with four sex crimes in Los Angeles
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times )

Maria Cain said her son was not involved with the equipment thefts and would never hurt a child.

He has a longtime girlfriend, she said, and was close with his father, a veteran LAPD officer who died of cancer in recent years.

Cain, a 10-year-veteran of the department, managed the equipment room at the 77th Street Division. He previously worked in the Van Nuys Division. He had also applied to work as a youth services officer, though his application was denied, Beck said.

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Beck has said the allegations largely focused on actions at the 77th Street Division and has suggested Cain was aware of, and may have even helped facilitate, the cadet thefts. His mother denied those claims.

“He only worked three days a week, what about the other ones?” she asked.

Cain attended college two days a week, she said. He graduated June 17 from Cal State San Bernardino, earning a bachelor’s degree in management, according to the university.

Cain also served in the Marine Corps from 2004 to 2008, according to military personnel records. He was deployed to Iraq from September 2007 to April 2008, records show.

His close relationship with his father, a Vietnam War veteran, sparked his interest in firearms, his mother said. He was concerned that possession of some of those weapons might cause problems, she said.

Seki, his attorney, had previously told The Times that Cain had been trying to modify the weapons to comply with California’s strict gun laws.

Maria Cain considers the LAPD part of her family and has published a book of poetry that deals, in part, with her adoration for the agency. But after the charges were filed against her son, she said she felt betrayed by the department.

“I raised him right,” she said. “He is about law and order.”

Staff writer Marisa Gerber contributed to this report.

richard.winton@latimes.com

james.queally@latimes.com

Follow @LACrimes & @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.

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