Internal investigation file: officers used sex, social media to exploit youth explorers

Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The criminal prosecution of former Louisville Metro Police officers Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts on sex crimes charges moved forward in a major way as prosecutors filed new evidence in the case which highlights specific and graphic details of the allegations on Oct. 5.

 

The new evidence obtained by the WHAS11 News i-Team includes more than 1,000 pages of documents, photos, screenshots and interviews as part of LMPD's Public Integrity Unit investigation.

 

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One of the first few pages describes a sex tape made by Wood and a lover, which one investigator wrote Wood sent via text message to a minor who was a scout in the program.

 

In a text, one person told investigators Wood was a "Dangerous person for me to be around. I know he would take advantage of me," and added in the text, "TBH I'm scared of him. Of what he would do". TBH, the investigator wrote is a common text messaging abbreviation for "to be honest."

 

The person also told investigators he left the LMPD Explorer Program in 2015 because of Officer Wood.

 

There are also accusations against Wood, suggesting he used SnapChat to send sexually suggestive messages to explorers, asking one what his favorite sex position was.

 

Police Chief Steve Conrad fired Wood after the officer was indicted on seven counts of sex abuse.

 

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Betts had a different departure from the department. He quit over accusations by a girl in the program who accused the officer of sending her inappropriate text messages.

 

When questioned about the allegations, the interview was "not documented or recorded" one investigator wrote.

 

One of the people questioning the girl was Lt. Curtis Flaherty.

 

A fellow officer, who was present during the questioning, told investigators "Flaherty probably was not the best person to make any decisions regarding the investigation on this incident, since he was the Commander of both the Explorer program and the Public Integrity Unit."

 

The Public Integrity Unit, or PIU as written in some documents, investigates allegations of illegal conduct by officers.

 

Flaherty's involvement led to allegations of a cover-up and eventually a civil suit naming Wood, Betts and Flaherty.

 

"I think that it is further evidence that there's a clear abuse of power and position by the abusers and the manipulation of the victims," attorney David Yates, who represents plaintiffs in the civil case said by phone Thursday afternoon, "I think it is unfortunate that it also further evidences the cover-up that was put into place by the people in higher positions of authority and power."

 

The evidence also caught Yates' investigative team by surprise.  An employee from his office was seen in the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk's Office obtaining a copy of the evidence after it was first reported by WHAS11 News media partner The Courier-Journal.

 

Although Betts quit the force, which led to Conrad closing the investigation, a grand jury indicted the former officer on two counts of sodomy in the criminal probe.

 

The documents entered into the criminal case file describe numerous sexual encounters by Wood and Betts with underage members of the Explorer program.

 

One former explorer told investigators he had a sexual encounter with Betts at an Explorers national conference and another encounter at Betts' home, which also involved another explorer. The former explorer told investigators Betts and the other explorer performed sex acts on him.

 

The former explorer was "adamant that the oral sex encounter happened before he graduated from high school and left for the military, at which time he would have been 17-years-old at the time of the oral sex encounter. "

 

Wood and Betts have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case. The civil case is also pending.

  

i-Team investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 and dnrose@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter: @WHAS11DRose.

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