LMPD officer involved in Explorer Program sex abuse case also in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD officer involved in Explorer Program sex abuse case also involved in 2013 investigation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former Louisville Metro Police officer named in a lawsuit filed last week accusing the department of covering up the rape of a teenage boy in the Youth Explorer Program had also been involved in a previous investigation, according to a memorandum from Police Chief Steve Conrad.

The investigation was initiated in July of 2013, concerning Officer Kenneth Betts allegedly making inappropriate contact with a female in the program.

Conrad closed the investigation in April of 2014, citing Betts' resignation from the department and no further action was needed.

In his resignation letter from March 2014, Betts said although he was due for a promotion, had accepted another opportunity to finish his doctorate degree and his time with the department would come to an end on May 1, 2014

The case was being investigated by the department's professional standards unit, which conducts internal administrative investigations. 

It is typical for police to close a PSU case when an officer retires. 

The department's Public Integrity Unit conducts criminal investigations of officers. Those cases do not end with a resignation. 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer temporarily suspended the Explorer Program amid the accusations on Monday.

"The allegations in this lawsuit are extremely disturbing and the case needs transparency from beginning to end," Fischer said.

Fischer also asked that the sealed lawsuit be opened.

The victim's attorney, David Yates, president of the Louisville Metro Council, claims Betts and Officer Brandon Wood, who was reassigned within LMPD in October, sexually assaulted a male teen over several years while he was in the program and accuses the department of covering up the case.

A preliminary criminal investigation was turned over to the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's Office on Feb. 7. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine said a prosecutor is reviewing the investigation but also is expecting more information from police. Wine has declined to discuss the case further because it is still pending.

Yates filed the lawsuit last week y against the city he represents, the Louisville Metro Police Department and three of its officers, claiming the teen was sexually assaulted by two officers over several years in the department's Youth Explorer Program.

Yates said he asked that the lawsuit be sealed as is required under state law in a sexual abuse case in which the allegations are more than five years old. He said Monday he would be "open to reached an agreement of some form of unsealing as long as the victim's identify is completely protected."

He said the "mental health and safety of the victim remains my top priority and I will fight to ensure that he receives justice without having to be victimized again."

The lawsuit, according to information obtained by WDRB, claims the alleged victim was "sexually abused" in homes, vehicles and other locations between 2011 and 2013.

Wood and Betts molested, abused and raped the teen and recorded the sexual acts, according to the suit. 

In addition, officials are accused of concealing evidence of the conduct by intimidation, destruction of evidence, deletion of information and refusal to comply with the Kentucky Open Records Act, as well as conspiracy to cover up the wrongdoing, according to the suit. 

Police are also accused of falsification of reports, deletion of media phone records and audio files and destruction of paper evidence. 

"It literally shocks the conscience of any reasonable person to know a 16-year-old child being raped by a police officer in a position of authority, and then when he confides in another officer, a supervisor in a position of authority, and he's abused by that officer too," said Yates. "That is appalling, that is sickening, that is disgusting."

The Explorer program mentors teens interested in a career in law enforcement. The students work with officers at events like Thunder over Louisville and Derby.

In fact, Betts and Woods were once student Explorer themselves before joining the force. Betts was even named "Explorer of the Year." 

Yates claims their positions helped lead to a cover-up. He says the case names Betts, Wood, LMPD Maj. Curtis Flaherty, the city of Louisville, the Louisville Metro Police Department, and the Boy Scouts as defendants 

"There's been some bad, bad people in positions of authority and they have not been held accountable," Yates said. "They've been protected by other bad people."

Related stories:

Attorney claims members of LMPD covered up rape of teen boy

Mayor Fischer temporarily suspends LMPD Youth Explorer program over sex abuse allegations

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