Police officials knew of sex misconduct allegations against Kenneth Betts in 2002
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Former Louisville Metro Police Lt. Curtis Flaherty knew about sexual misconduct allegations in 2002 against a man who would later be hired by the department, serve as an advisor over teens in the youth Explorer program and eventually be indicted for sexually abusing several juveniles.
A timeline of an investigation into LMPD’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct in the youth Explorer program released Thursday shows that Flaherty learned in October 2002 that one of the teens in the program had been accused of sexual misconduct by two females.
While the name of the Explorer accused of sexual misconduct is redacted, a source close to the investigation said it is Kenneth Betts, who joined the department as a recruit in 2006 and is now charged with several counts of sexual abuse.
At the time, Flaherty submitted a written report on the allegations to Major Tim Emmington on Oct. 14, 2002. The documents released Thursday by the Metro Council – from an investigation by former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey – do not mention what happened with the report or any further investigation.
Betts is one of two former officers now facing criminal charges and civil litigation resulting from their alleged sexual abuse of teens under their supervision as part of the Explorer program for young people interested in law enforcement careers.
Flaherty, who served part of his career as head of the Explorer program, is also named in several lawsuits, accused of covering up the abuse by his officers. He resigned from the department last year, and has not been criminally charged.
According to the timeline, Betts is first accused of sexual assault as an officer in 2007, when he allegedly demanded oral sex from a 19-year-old Explorer at Iroquois Park. Also in 2007, Betts is accused of forcibly performing oral sex on a 17-year-old Explorer. Neither teen told police, according to the investigation.
In 2010, Betts allegedly touched an Explorer's genitals and offered money for sex.
In 2012, Betts allegedly sexually abused three different Explorers and sent nude pictures to a fourth.
LMPD began investigating Betts in 2013 after police discovered Betts sent inappropriate texts that year to a 16-year-old female Explorer, asking her to “make-out." During the course of that investigation detectives about the 2010 Explorer, who then spoke with investigators.
Harvey’s investigation into LMPD’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct in the youth Explorer program revealed a series “mistakes," including a failure to look into possible criminal conduct and determine if the abuse was widespread in 2013.
But the 90-page report by Harvey did not mention the 2002 allegations against Betts when he was an Explorer except for a brief mention in the timeline. Some of the report, however, is still redacted.
The report ultimately concluded there was no cover-up by police or city officials.
The Metro Council voted to release timelines and invoices that had not been included in the initial report. WDRB requested the invoices under the open records law but the city redacted much of the information.
The timeline also mentions former Officer Brandon Wood, accusing him of having sex with a 17-year-old Explorer in 2011. Wood, who has also been indicted on sex abuse charges, also allegedly exchanged sexually explicit emails with another teen in 2011. Wood later began dating that Explorer when the teen turned 18, according to the investigative timeline.
Wood is not mentioned again until 2016, when he is accused of trading sexually explicit emails with an Explorer.
LMPD began investigating Wood in 2016 after he and his boyfriend broke up. The boyfriend told police Wood had committed crimes, including that Wood had sent a video of the two of them having sex to an Explorer.
In addition to the criminal charges, at least six lawsuits are pending in U.S. District Court claiming Explorers were sexually harassed or assaulted and that officials covered it up.
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