Sex abuse allegations in lawsuit involving LMPD Youth Explorer program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A lawsuit filed Wednesday includes sex abuse allegations involving the Louisville Metro Police Youth Explorer Program, according to an attorney for the plaintiff, Metro Council President David Yates.

Yates says the lawsuit was filed Wednesday and that it has been sealed. According to Yates, the lawsuit alleges sex abuse by one former and one current LMPD officer involved in the Youth Explorer Program.

In October, sources connected LMPD Officer Brandon Wood to an investigation involving the Youth Explorer program, which is designed to help teens interested in law enforcement. In a Facebook post on October 13, 2016, Metro Police said that its Public Integrity Unit was looking into an officer's behavior surrounding the program. Officer Wood was placed on administrative leave.

Records show that former officer Kenneth Betts was under investigation for improper contact with a female explorer in 2013, but the investigation was closed because Betts resigned from the department.
This new lawsuit also alleges a cover up by an LMPD Major, according to Yates.

Officer Brandon Wood's attorney Steve Schroering says his client maintains his innocence. Attorney Brian Butler, who represents Kenneth Betts, said he has no comment at this time.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell released a statement Thursday afternoon saying:

"As the legal representative for Louisville Metro Government, my office took service of a complaint late Thursday that involved allegations regarding the Louisville Metro Police Department's Explorers program. The case is under seal by the Court and we have not fully reviewed the complaint, but the allegations are very serious and deserve the most thorough of investigations.

"Recognizing the seriousness of the allegations, I do have concerns about a possible conflict of interest where Mr. Yates, an elected public officer, is suing the government in which he serves and for which he may have a financial interest in the outcome of the lawsuit."

Our news partners at the Courier-Journal are reporting that Yates has now hired an ethics attorney to represent him.

WHAS11 reached out to LMPD for comment, but they said they do not comment on pending litigation.

The Youth Explorer program is associated with the Boy Scouts of America. A representative for the Boy Scouts of America, Lincoln Heritage Council released the following statement:

“The Lincoln Heritage Council, Boy Scouts of America, extends its deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse. While we cannot discuss ongoing litigation, any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable.

The behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands. Once we were made aware of the allegations we took immediate action to remove Officers Wood and Betts and precluded both from any further participation in the Scouting program.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

For more information about the BSA's youth protection policies, please visit http://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/key-topics/youth-protection/. “
 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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