LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office won't seek charges against a Louisville police officer accused of sexually abusing a girl in the Explorer youth mentoring program, according to the officer's attorney.
Prosecutors told WDRB News they recently sent a letter with the findings and their recommendation in the investigation of Ofc. Brad Schuhmann to the Louisville Public Corruption Civil Rights Task Force, which includes local and federal law enforcement.
Schuhmann's criminal defense attorney, Logan Sims, said prosecutors told him Monday that they wouldn't be seeking charges, but he didn't know their rationale.
"We are happy with that decision," Sims said.
A girl identified as “B.L.” claimed in a federal lawsuit last year that Schuhmann abused her in his Louisville Metro Police Department cruiser and sought sexual pictures and acts from her between 2008 to 2009.
Schuhmann, who had been on paid administration leave, had previously denied the girl’s allegations through an attorney.
After WDRB requested the letter from police under the Kentucky Open Records law, department spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said in an email that "the document you are requesting is a part of the Explorer investigation which is currently being investigated by the FBI Public Corruption Task Force."
WDRB has also requested the letter from the FBI. Sims said he didn't know if Schuhmann is under federal investigation.
Jeff Cooke, a spokesman for the Commonwealth's Attorney's office, acknowledged their investigation had ended and the letter was sent to the task force. He declined to answer questions about the letter's content.
Schuhmann is currently on "light duty," Smiley said.
B.L's abuse claims were detailed in thousands of documents that were unsealed in U.S. District Court last August. The purported abuse happened in the officer’s cruiser, at Explorer events and through text messages, court records alleged.
The lawsuit, which is pending, claims the teen told her parents, who confronted Schuhmann and met with the program’s leader at the time, Lt. Curtis Flaherty.
Flaherty, who is also named as a defendant in the suit, is accused of failing to report the alleged sexual abuse and “concealing” it, according to court documents. He retired in 2017.
“It is believed Defendant Flaherty did nothing as a result, despite receiving a report of child sex abuse,” according to the lawsuit.
The alleged sex abuse was also reported to other officers supervising the Explorer program at a retreat in Atlanta, including Kenneth Betts, Brandon Wood, Julie Schmidt and Matt Gelhausen, according to the lawsuit. All are named as defendants. Gelhausen is still with the department; the others have left or been fired.
The lawsuit claims Schmidt ordered the teen to come outside while she was in her hotel room to discuss the allegations. The teen was “taken to the courtyard alone” with the former officers named in the suit and was “interrogated” for about an hour.
The teen became “hysterically upset” as the officers were “verbally abusive, victim blaming and shaming, and belligerently berating” her, the suit claims. She requested her parents be present but was ignored, the suit claims.
In addition, the suit alleges the officers then searched the teen's room and all of her belongings, “potentially” taking and destroying “any incriminating evidence they could locate,” without a warrant. B.L.’s phone was seized by police without a court order, according to the suit.
Her parents were “livid” and met with Flaherty and other LMPD advisers, the suit says.
“In an attempt to offer an inducement for her silence, Defendant Flaherty told B.L’s parents she wouldn’t have to pay for the trip to Atlanta but there was no other resolution and essentially nothing else came out of the meeting, other than promises ordered by Flaherty that all appropriate actions would be taken against Schuhmann,” according to the suit.
B.L.'s lawsuit amended some details of the allegations, including the years when the abuse occurred. The first lawsuit claims B.L. was raped in 2010 and 2011, while the amended suits say the teen was sexually abused - "groped" - a few years earlier.
Carol Petitt, an attorney representing Schuhmann in the civil case, has said the changes in the allegations "are significant."
"My client denies any wrongdoing whatsoever," she said last year.
In 2013, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad sent Schuhmann a commendation letter on his work with the Explorer program, according to Schuhmann's personnel file.
"You are a credit to the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Explorer program," Conrad wrote.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer suspended the Explorer program in March 2017 after a teenage boy accused two officers of raping him while he took part in the program, which mentored young people interested in becoming police officers.
Two former officers face criminal and civil charges in connection to abuse claims in the program.
Last month, Kenneth Betts pleaded guilty to seven federal charges that included distributing and possessing child pornography, transferring obscene material to a minor, enticement and attempted enticement. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces 10 to 15 years in prison, according to terms of a plea agreement, although a judge isn’t required to follow it.
Betts also faces state charges.
Brandon Wood was scheduled to stand trial this month but it was postponed. A new date will be set at a hearing in February.
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