Former LMPD officer pleads guilty to sex charges in Explorer scandal
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Kenneth Betts, one of two former Louisville Metro Police officers accused of sexually abusing teens in the department's youth mentoring Explorer program, has pleaded guilty to seven federal charges against him in the scandal.
Betts will go back to jail until his sentencing in March.
In U.S. District Court in Louisville Thursday, Betts pleaded guilty to charges of knowingly distributing child pornography, possession of child pornography, transferring obscene material to a minor, enticement and attempted enticement, among other charges.
The plea agreement calls for 10 to 15 years in prison, although the judge does not have to follow that recommendation.
Betts is still facing a trial in state court on sexual abuse charges.
In the federal indictment, the allegations against Betts stretch from his first year on the department in 2006 through 2016.
He is charged with sending pictures of his penis to someone under the age of 16 and attempting to have sex with males and females who were not yet 18.
Betts and former officer Brandon Wood are both facing criminal charges and civil litigation in Jefferson Circuit Court stemming from their alleged sexual abuse of teens under their supervision as part of a program for young people interested in law enforcement careers.
Wood is scheduled to stand trial in January.
A state trial date has not been set for Betts, who is charged with two counts of sodomy involving two different alleged victims. The indictment in state court 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.
Betts quit the force in April 2014 after complaints came to light.
The Explorer program, which has been suspended, mentored teens interested in becoming police officers. Students work closely with officers at events such as the Kentucky Derby.
Police and city officials are accused in seven federal lawsuits 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 lawsuits.
Police are also accused of falsifying reports, deleting phone records and audio files and destroying other records.
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.
But the report ultimately concluded there was no massive cover-up by police or city officials.
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