Former LMPD officer charged with sexual abuse in Explorer case d - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former LMPD officer charged with sexual abuse in Explorer case defends himself in Facebook posts

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Former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts Former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Kenneth Betts, one of two former Louisville Metro Police officers indicted Wednesday for allegedly sexual abusing teens while with the department's Explorer program, wrote on Facebook this week that he is innocent.

“I would never do something to harm anyone or a program that did so (much) good,” Betts wrote Thursday on his Facebook page.

“I was not raised nor have I ever wanted or did (sic) hurt someone like they are saying,” Betts wrote in response to comments from friends offering support. “It’s for sure hard on my family and I but I know I have God and so many wonderful family and friends on my side.”

Betts maintains a semi-private Facebook page and doesn’t use his full name on the site. The posts are viewable to his Facebook friends, which include local judges, attorneys, Metro Council members and police officers.

Betts is one of two former officers facing criminal charges and civil litigation resulting from their alleged sexual abuse of teens under their supervision as part of a program for young people interested in law enforcement careers.

He was charged Wednesday with two counts of sodomy involving two different alleged victims. The indictment alleges Betts engaged in “deviate sexual intercourse” with one of the victims through the use of “forcible compulsion” over a five-month period in 2007.

And Betts is accused of committing sodomy on July 26, 2013 with a minor “he came into contact with as a result” of his position as a police officer.

Former Officer Brandon Wood was also indicted on seven counts of sexual abuse with one alleged victim, a juvenile, stemming from incidents in 2011 and 2012.

After the indictments were handed up Wednesday, one Facebook friend wrote that Betts was facing a “speed bump in life’s travels.” Betts responded: “You got that right, pretty big ole speed bump though but look forward to the sunshine on the other side.”

Betts’ posts suggest he is leaning heavily on his Baptist faith during the challenging time.

On Wednesday night, Betts posted a Bible verse saying, in part, “The LORD is my strength, and my defense, he has become my salvation.”

In his Facebook bio section, Betts includes a quote: “Reputation is what men and women thing of us; character is what god and angels know of us.”

Dozens of Facebook friends have written on Betts’ page that they are praying for him. He has responded to many by saying God was with him and his family and would get them through the difficult months ahead.

“I have felt the prayers and know they are working!” he wrote Wednesday. “I do believe we have a long battle ahead but no doubt believe we will see the sunshine again!”

In another, Betts wrote, “God just showing me another challenge for my life. We will overcome it.”

One Facebook friend told Betts he would vouch for the former officer’s character.

Betts responded that he “May need that one day!”

Attorney Brian Butler, who represents Betts, has said he and his client are “disappointed” with the indictment but looking forward to seeing the evidence in the case.

“It's incredibly difficult on him and his family,” Butler said.

Butler would not talk about the case but did provide some biographical information. Betts graduated from PRP High School the University of Louisville and has a masters degree in science.

"He decided to become a police officer to serve the community," Butler said in an email. 

Betts, an officer for eight years, is married and has a 10-month-old child. 

He is currently employed as a code enforcement officer in the city of Rolling Hills. He works 20 hours a month and typically writes tickets for ordinance violations.

His personnel file shows dozens of commendations and no disciplinary incidents.

LMPD reassigned Wood in October amid the investigation, and Betts quit the force in April 2014 after complaints came to light.

The Explorer program mentors teens interested in becoming police officers. Students work closely with officers at events such as the Kentucky Derby.

WDRB has talked with several former participants of the Explorer program when Betts was there. One said that “everyone looked up to Brandon as a friend, mentor, and as a great police officer.”

But others described him as “kind of creepy” and “a messed up dude.”

A lawsuit filed last month attorney David Yates – who is also the Louisville Metro Council president -- claims Betts and Wood raped a male teenager -- identified by the initials N.C. -- between 2011 and 2013 while he was in the Explorer program and accuses the department of covering up the case.

On Wednesday, Yates said he represents four victims, though three had not yet been added as plaintiffs to the lawsuit. At least two of his clients appear to be alleged victim identified by their initials in the indictments, he said.

“I think the evidence is overwhelming that you had police officers in positions of authority over minors who did horrific acts towards the minors,” Yates said in an interview. “I think the evidence will show that they were on notice and no action was taken to stop the abuse or protect those minors or future minors.”

The lawsuit claims the alleged victim known as N.C. was “sexually abused” in homes, vehicles and other locations.

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

Police and city 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 falsifying reports, deleting phone records and audio files and destroying other records.

In addition to the lawsuit, a different teenager told police investigators in 2013 that Betts offered him money for sex and promised to take care of a traffic citation in exchange for sexual favors, according to police records.

That teen made the allegations against Betts during an inquiry into Betts’ relationship with a different participant of the program, a 16-year-old girl who claims the officer texted her shirtless pictures of himself and asked to meet her and “make out."

Yates said he is representing the 16-year-old but she has not yet joined the lawsuit.

The internal investigation by the department’s professional standards unit found that Betts violated police procedures but committed no criminal acts involving the girl.

There was no investigation into the male teenager’s allegations at the time, a police source said, and Betts avoided any discipline by leaving the department.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad closed the case “by exception” when Betts resigned, saying “no further action need be taken.”

Conrad has declined to be interviewed while the criminal case is pending.

Although the 2013 internal investigation into Betts has long been over, police have refused to release the full file, saying state law requires that only the probe’s initiation letter and conclusions are public record.

In the 2013 case, the female teen said Betts’ repeated advances prompted her to bring it to the attention of other officers in the program, sources said, adding there was no sexual contact between the two.

Some of the texts between the girl and Betts are included in the internal investigation.

The other Explorer mentioned in the 2013 investigation, a male described in his late teens, did not file a complaint but told other officers about Betts’ behavior, sources said.

The teen said Betts asked him for sexual favors in person while riding along with the officer, and through text messages, according to sources’ description of the investigation.

The teen also told police Betts asked him for group sex and for the officer to perform oral sex on him.

At one point, when the teen received a traffic ticket outside Jefferson County, Betts told him he would take care of it for sexual favors, according to those close to the investigation. Betts also offered the teen money for sex, but the teen said he repeatedly declined the offers.

Sources said the teen reported the conduct to Wood, who reported it to his commander, Maj. Curtis Flaherty. Flaherty is also a defendant in the lawsuit filed by N.C.

In his March 14 resignation letter, Betts said although he was due for a promotion, he had accepted another opportunity to finish his doctorate degree, and his time with the department would come to an end on May 1, 2014.

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