Louisville mayor signs child abuse reporting law

Mayor signs new law on child abuse reporting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A law signed by the mayor is taking things a step further when it comes to suspected child abuse

“I saw a gap and I took a lead to make sure that there was clarity in what the expectations were,” said Councilwoman Angela Leet. 

Metro employees, including Louisville Metro Police Officers are now required to report suspected or known sexual abuse to state authorities, like Kentucky State Police or the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, and not just the police department, as was expected before the law. 

“I think it was a gross oversight in the original writing of this ordinance. Now, if anyone suspects abuse of a Louisville Metro Police Department employee, that cannot be reported only within Louisville Metro Police Department,” explained Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith. 

Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates told WHAS 11 News he commends city leaders for strengthening the process.

“It's really what police officers should've been doing from the get-go,” he said. 

The law was spurred by the abuse allegations in the LMPD Explorer program. Former officers Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts are accused of sexually abusing at least one teenager, who was involved in the police department's program.

“There was clearly a system's failure of a few individuals, not dozens, but a few individuals who violated a very sacred trust 4:59 We as a community have to be vigilant, we have to be unrelenting in making sure not a single little boy or girl in Louisville suffers at the hand of an abuser,” said Brooks.

LMPD's Public Integrity Unit is still investigating the abuse allegations along with former U-S attorney and special investigator Kerry Harvey. 

There is already a state law that requires anyone to report child abuse if there a suspicion or knowledge of it.  Those who fail to do so could face charges. 
 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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