Kentucky: Lawsuits Filed after Teens were Sexually Abused by Cops
There have been multiple lawsuits filed against the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) in Kentucky. The suits show that more than eight current or former LMPD officers engaged in sex crimes with underage teenagers, according to VICE News.
At the center of the scandal are three former LMPD officers Kenneth Betts, Brandon Wood, and Curtis Flaherty, all ran the LMPD Youth Explorers program.
All three have left the force, Betts and Wood are charged with sex crimes in both state and federal courts; Betts and Wood have pleaded guilty. Flaherty has not been criminally charged yet.
In 2019, Wood pleaded guilty to federal attempted enticement charges and is scheduled to be sentenced May 28.
Also in 2019, Betts pleaded guilty to federal enticement and child pornography charges, his sentence is set for May 2019, WDRB News reports.
Betts met at least three unidentified teens through the LMPD Youth Explorer program.
Betts communicated with the first victim between February 2006 and February 2008 using Facebook and other social media. He acknowledged he solicited and received sexually explicit pictures from the teen.
Betts also admitted to sending some of those pictures using Facebook in May 2014. When federal investigators seized electronics from Betts' home in 2016, they found some of the sexually explicit images from one of the victims.
Additionally, Betts admitted that he asked another victim, a 17-year-old he knew through the Explorer program, to meet for sex and for sexually explicit pictures.
Betts confessed to sending a picture of himself in a police uniform with a young woman to a female minor teenager "encouraging a three-way," according to the plea agreement. The underage teenager refused the requests.
Betts resigned in March 2014 following a police department internal investigation into possible "improper contact" between him and a teenage girl in the program.
Officer Brandon Wood
Between 2011 and 2012, Wood attempted to entice John Doe 1, who had not reached 18 years of age, to engage in sexual activity. Wood met Doe through the LMPD Explorers Program during a camp held in Bullitt County – where Wood was a counselor and sworn LMPD officer.
Wood used social media to contact John Doe 1 after the camp. Those communications resulted in an attempt to entice the minor to engage in sexual activity.
U.S Attorney Russell Coleman said in a statement:
“The tragedy of the LMPD Explorer Program is that Mr. Wood and others used a well-intended program designed to recruit our finest young people into law enforcement service as a tool to exploit those same kids. The United States looks forward to his sentencing to a term of years in federal prison."
The city ended the Explorer program after Betts and Wood were charged in state court. Wood was fired.
An investigation into LMPD's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct in the Youth Explorer Program found police made several "mistakes," including a failure to look into possible criminal conduct and determine if the abuse was widespread.