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Ex-police officer in LAPD cadet scandal pleads guilty to statutory rape

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 today after pleading guilty to statutory rape charges.

Robert Cain, 32, pleaded guilty 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 signature youth program.

Cain will now have to register as a sex offender, according to his attorney, Bill Seki. The former officer was also sentenced to two years in prison earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to illegal weapons charges in San Bernardino County.

The sentences must be served consecutively, since the plea deals were stuck in different jurisdictions, Seki said. Cain has remained jailed since his arrest in July 2017, and it was not immediately clear when his earliest possible release date would be.

Cain’s victim, who was 15 at the time of the assaults, declined to comment through her attorney, Luis Carillo. The girl was granted a decadelong restraining order against Cain as part of the plea deal, he said.

He was originally charged with two counts each of oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, prosecutors said. Cain faced up to seven years and eight months in prison if convicted of all charges.

The sex abuse was uncovered as part of an investigation into the theft of LAPD cruisers and other police equipment by members of the cadet program.

In June of 2017, three cadets driving stolen LAPD cruisers led police on a wild chase through South L.A. that resulted in several car crashes. Ultimately, seven cadets were arrested and accused of taking at least three LAPD cruisers out on “joyrides” and stealing police equipment that included Tasers, radios and bulletproof vests.

A search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times last year revealed that the cadets had access to the stolen cruisers for at least six weeks, driving up to 47 miles away to Corona. Three cadets are now facing criminal charges in connection to the thefts.

Cain’s victim was among the seven arrested but she will not face criminal charges, Carillo said. The family has filed a claim against the city.

Police said they began an investigation into Cain after uncovering text messages that detailed an inappropriate relationship between the two, and also suggested Cain knew about the theft of LAPD equipment.

The sexual assaults took place roughly 10 days before the LAPD began investigating the thefts allegedly carried out by the cadets. Last year, sources told The Times that Cain took his victim to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia on the day of the assaults.

Days before his arrest, Cain had grown concerned about a “problem with a girl,” his mother, Maria Cain, said during an interview last year.

“I have a bad feeling about it,” he said, according to his mother.

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.

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