Explorer investigation moves forward with criminal charges
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After months of investigating, two men have been indicted on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy.
“I want to tell you that today was a day of rejoice and happiness because the prosecution finally has started but when you deal with issues of sexual abuse, with cover up, the fear build-up. No one is happy,” said David Yates, attorney.
Yates represents two of the three alleged victims mentioned in the indictments that have charged Officer Brandon Wood with seven counts of sexual abuse and former Officer Kenneth Betts with two counts of sodomy.
“We're pleased the criminal prosecution has begun but this is just the beginning of a long road for justice,” Yates said.
LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit began investigating Wood and Betts back in October when an alleged victim came forward claiming he had been raped and sexually abused when he was a member of the Louisville Metro Police Department's Youth Explorer Program. Mayor Greg Fischer has since suspended the program.
“There are potential young children who want to be police officers, who want to be engaged in the profession of public safety and somehow, we as a community violated their trust,” Councilwoman Angela Leet, District 7.
Chief Steve Conrad issued a statement saying in part, he is "frustrated he cannot talk about the about the specific details of the Explorer case because of pending civil litigation. Following the return of those indictments, I signed a letter of intent to terminate which will be tendered to Brandon Wood today.”
The Metro Council safety committee also met on Wednesday working out the details for the contract to employ a special investigator to look into the case independently. Councilman James Peden addressed the indictments.
“I hope that doesn't stop anything. I know we've spent a lot of time up here talking about time limits and deadlines and how much money we're going to spend and all those things but I would sit up here as a councilperson and say, I just want this done right,” said Councilman Peden, District 23.
The Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine says he believe there could be more alleged victims out there. He's urging anyone with information about this case to come forward and call his office at (502) 595-2340 or the Public Integrity Unity at (502) 574-2136.