Former LMPD officers Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts ask judge to dismiss sex abuse lawsuit

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Brandon Wood, one of two former Louisville Metro Police officers already indicted in state court for allegedly sexually abusing teens while with the department's Explorer program, has pleaded guilty to an attempted enticement charge in federal court. 

Wood accepted a plea deal Monday in U.S. District Court calling for a five-year prison sentence. 

Wood pleaded guilty to using a facility and means of interstate commerce for knowingly attempting to persuade, induce and entice a juvenile under 18 to engage in sexual activity, according to court records.

A judge still must approve the proposed sentence in May. 

Steve Schroering, an attorney for Wood, said Wood has "accepted responsibility for his portion of this investigation."

Schroering said there are ongoing discussions with prosecutors in the state case. 

“The tragedy of the LMPD Explorer Program is that Mr. Wood and others used a well-intended program designed to recruit our finest young people into law enforcement service as a tool to exploit those same kids,” U.S Attorney Russell Coleman said in a statement. “The United States looks forward to his sentencing to a term of years in federal prison

There is no parole in federal prison. 

Between 2011 and 2012, Wood attempted to entice a juvenile to engage in sexual activity, according to the press release. Wood met the juvenile through Explorers program during a camp held in Bullitt County.

Wood used social media to contact the juvenile after the camp, attempting to entice him into sexual activity, according to the charge. 

Wood and former Officer Kenneth Betts 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.

Betts has already pleaded guilty to several charges in federal court. In November, 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. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March. 

In state court, Wood was also indicted on seven counts of sexual abuse with one alleged victim, a juvenile, stemming from incidents in 2011 and 2012. A trial date has not been set. 

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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Digital Reporter

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 be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.