738,000 Records on Sexual Abuse of Teens, Hidden by Police

Louisville Metro Police Department
Louisville Metro Police Department

Police Abuse Teens in Explorer Scouts Program

(KY) – Law enforcement agencies are always looking for good people to join their ranks. An Explorer Scout program that allowed teens, who were interested in law enforcement, to be mentored by police officers seemed like a perfect match. Instead, at least two officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department have been convicted for sexual crimes against those teens. Brandon Wood was charged with attempted enticement and received a 70 month jail term. Kenneth Betts was charged with attempted enticement and child pornography and received a 16 year sentence. According to the news video below, there is a third officer who is also being investigated.

LMPD Ignores Sexual Abuse

In the case of Kenneth Betts, the Louisville Metro Police Department knew there were possible crimes. According to The Courier Journal, which is part of USA Today, “Betts had been investigated in 2013 and 2014 on suspicion of improper conduct with a female Explorer, but the investigation was closed when Betts resigned in 2014.” They just closed it. They didn’t bother finishing an investigation into what could have been criminal activity nor did they attempt to find out if there were any other possible victims. All they were concerned with was making it go away so they could  protect their image.

Courier Journal Files Open Records Requests

The Explorer program was shut down in March of 2017 and the FBI began investigating in April of 2017. It was during this time that The Courier Journal filed open records requests for information on the investigation. Both the LMPD and the District Attorney’s Office said all records had been given to the FBI. This was not true. According to the article,

In an Oct. 21 letter to The Courier Journal’s lawyers “amending previous factual statements made in error,” Assistant County Attorney Roy Denny acknowledged 9,700 folders containing 738,000 documents – 470 gigabytes of data – had been found on the secret folder.

Denny said those files would have been available on the city’s encrypted backup system for 30 days, but now there is no way to recover them.

Hidden files? Really? They hid the information, then allowed it to be deleted, even though it was the subject of an open records request. Not only has LMPD betrayed the trust of the teens who wanted to be police officers, but they’ve also betrayed the trust of the whole community who has a right to expect transparency and adherence to the law.

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