Brandon Wood in court - 5-28-19

Former LMPD Officer Brandon Wood during a sentencing hearing in Louisville, Kentucky on May 28, 2019. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A federal judge has denied the “compassionate release” from prison request of Brandon Wood, one of two former Louisville Metro Police officers convicted of federal and state crimes in the department’s youth Explorer sex scandal.

Wood, who in 2019 was sentenced to 70 months in prison for attempted enticement of a teen in the youth mentoring program, had asked U.S. District Court Judge David Hale for release on home incarceration because of a “catastrophic outbreak” of the coronavirus at the Ohio prison where Wood is an inmate.

Dozens of inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton, Ohio, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to press reports, and Woods argued he is especially susceptible because he has asthma.

But on Tuesday, Hale ruled “the nature and circumstances” of Wood’s crimes are “disturbing” and a “substantial” prison sentence is necessary.

“He has served less than one year of that sentence,” Hale said in his ruling. “Under these circumstances, the factors do not support release.”

And Hale noted that while Attorney General William Barr specifically mentioned the Elkton prison in an order to the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home detention, Barr excluded inmates convicted of sex crimes.

Hale had previously written that Wood presented “extraordinary and compelling reasons” for a reduction of his sentence.

Defense attorney Steve Schroering, who represents Wood, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Wood admitted to trying to entice a juvenile under 18 to engage in sexual activity, according to court records.

Between 2011 and 2012, Wood attempted to entice a juvenile to engage in sexual activity, according to authorities. Wood met the juvenile through the LMPD Explorer program during a camp held in Bullitt County. Wood used social media to make contact with the juvenile after the camp, attempting to entice him into sexual activity, according to the charge.

In addition, Wood also pleaded guilty in state court to seven counts of sexually abusing a teen in the program and is serving a five-year sentence that is running concurrent with the federal conviction.

Wood and former officer Kenneth Betts were both convicted of sexually abusing teens in the Explorer program, which mentored youth interested in becoming police officers.

Betts is currently serving 16 years in federal prison on child pornography and enticement charges. He also pleaded guilty to sodomy charges in state court.

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Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.