Mayor Fischer temporarily suspends LMPD Youth Explorer program over sex abuse allegations

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Attorneys for an alleged victim of sexual abuse by two former Louisville Metro Police officers and lawyers representing the city, police and others have filed notice they have agreed to move a lawsuit alleging a “massive cover up” of crimes in the department’s youth Explorer program from state to federal court.

The lawsuit, which was filed last year in Jefferson Circuit Court, is being moved to U.S. District Court because an amendment to the suit adds alleged federal violations, including civil rights issues, according to court records.

The case was moved to federal court on March 12, according to records.

The amended complaint also adds a new plaintiff, Learning for Life, an affiliate of Boy Scouts of America, which operates the Explorer programs.

In the lawsuit, a former Explorer identified only by the initials N.C., claims former officers Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts sexually abused him while he was in the program between 2011 and 2013. Another former officer, Curtis Flaherty, is accused of covering up the abuse. The Boy Scouts and Lincoln Heritage Council are also named as defendants. 

Four other similar lawsuits have been filed, though they remain sealed.

Metro Government has provided seven possible defenses, including that the city had "no control," responsibility or liability for any of N.C.'s alleged damages.

And the city filed a cross-claim against Betts and Wood, arguing it should not have to pay any damages stemming from alleged illegal acts by the former officers.

The initial suit alleges that Wood and Betts molested, abused and raped the teen and recorded the sexual acts.

In addition, police 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.

Allegations against Betts date from as early as 2013, when a 16-year-old girl claimed the officer texted her shirtless pictures of himself and asked to meet her and "make out."

During that internal police investigation, a male teen told police that Betts offered him money for sex and promised to take care of a traffic citation in exchange for sexual favors.

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, and Betts avoided any discipline by leaving the department in April 2014.

Police Chief Steve Conrad closed that case "by exception" when Betts resigned, saying "no further action need be taken."

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