Mayor wants tougher child abuse reporting laws for police in wak - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Mayor wants tougher child abuse reporting laws for police in wake of Explorer scandal

Officer Brandon Wood (Source: LMPD) Officer Brandon Wood (Source: LMPD)
Former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts (Source: WAVE 3 News source) Former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts (Source: WAVE 3 News source)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Mayor Greg Fischer is calling on state lawmakers to strengthen child abuse reporting laws in response to the Louisville Metro Police Department Explorer sex abuse scandal.

Fischer is hoping for quick action by state lawmakers to require police departments to report allegations of child abuse to outside agencies. Right now police are not covered under those same requirements the general public is.

"When you think about these kids, if these allegations are true, being taken advantage of in this way, its despicable," Fischer said. "It's the worst nightmare for us in the city, so if there are any kids out there that have been involved in this we need to know."

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LMPD officer Brandon Wood and former LMPD officer Kenneth Betts are accused in a civil lawsuit of raping and sexually abusing a teenager in the LMPD Youth Explorer Program while they were working as officer advisers to the Explorers. Betts was also accused in 2013 of sending sexual text messages to a 16-year-old girl in the program. An internal investigation was closed after Betts resigned from the department.

WAVE 3 News has learned additional alleged victims have come forward. Mayor Fischer has called in the FBI, and named Kerry Harvey, a former U.S. attorney, as special prosecutor to investigate what happened and whether there was a cover up.

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Major Curtis Flaherty was not only over the Explorer Program at the time of the alleged abuse, he was in charge of the unit that investigates claims of wrongdoing against police officers.

"What's important to me is that we find the truth," Fischer said. "So we're going to take this one step as a time in terms of finding the facts. What happened when, who was involved. And then if we need to another stage we'll do that as well. but the important thing is to get that investigation started. and bring in the FBI in on these alleged federal crimes."

Fischer said he did not have a problem with Flaherty remaining in his post during the investigation.

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