3rd officer convicted in LMPD Explorer sex abuse scandal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A third former LMPD officer has now been convicted of federal sex abuse crimes against children in the department’s youth Explorer case.
Brad Schuhmann pleaded guilty to the federal civil rights charge for having sexual contact with a child he was supposed to be supervising as an officer.
“It was bad judgment by a 21, 22 year old man,” Schuhmann’s attorney, Patrick Renn, said. “Now, 10 years later, he’s having to pay this penalty.”
That penalty could be up to a year in federal prison, plus a $100,000 fine. The U.S. Assistant Attorney prosecuting the case told WAVE 3 News the recommendation will be for Schuhmann to receive the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which would be six months.
Schuhmann, who quit LMPD this month, joins Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood, who also have been federally convicted. Betts and Wood were convicted in state court and prosecuted by the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.
“They tarnished that badge,” U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said during a press conference Monday. “They were predators using the badge to gain access to kids.”
According to sources, a grand jury remains open in the case, meaning there could be more charges.
A handful of other officers are currently part of a federal lawsuit. At the center of those claims is former LMPD Major Curtis Flaherty, who has not been charged.
In fact, Flaherty received a promotion by then-Chief Steve Conrad while the department’s internal investigation was ongoing. Flaherty was the head supervisor of the Explorer Program, which came to a screeching halt after several victims came forward and the FBI became involved at the request of Metro Council President David James.
“It’s a difficult day for this department and LMPD in particular,” Renn said, adding it has been a difficult road for the victim and for Schuhmann, who recognizes he made a mistake.
Despite this most recent conviction, many questions remain, like who in the administration knew about the allegations and when. The lawsuit claims there was an effort to cover up the allegations.
The attorneys for the victims have had to fight the council members refused to release information pertaining to the case until a judge ordered them to last week.
Coleman said Monday that his office will use all the federal tools it has available, and that a badge won’t protect anyone committing a crime like Betts, Wood and Schuhmann.
“They are predators,” Coleman said. “They are predators, and stay tuned for more.”
The attorney representing the victim who came forward against Schuhmann said he is grateful the U.S. Attorney’s Office believed his victim, and said that was contrary to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, which declined to pursue charges against Schuhmann.
The Commonwealth said that decision by Prosecutor Chris Foster was made because of evidentiary problems. Foster worked in the Special Victims Unit, while Schuhmann worked a number of domestic-violence cases. The Commonwealth denied the lack of charges had anything to do with the working relationship on cases and noted Foster has worked at the Commonwealth for roughly 20 years.
Schuhmann will be sentenced on March 10. He remains out on a $25,000 bond.
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