Councilman: Other LMPD Explorer victims have come forward
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – WAVE 3 News has learned that there may be more victims of sexual abuse who were part of the Louisville Metro Police Department's Explorer program.
Councilman David James confirmed police officers have told him that since the news broke, more victims are coming forward.
"I've never seen anything like this in my 30 years as a police officer," James said.
Thursday we learned the FBI launched a preliminary investigation and now James is happy Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has brought on a special investigator - former U.S. attorney Kerry Harvey.
Friday evening Fischer announced Harvey had been appointed to do a "wide-ranging investigation" of the LMPD Explorer program.
"There's not anything or anybody that is excluded," Harvey said. The mayor contacted Harvey on Tuesday, he accepted Friday.
"The charge from the mayor is to do a comprehensive review and find out exactly what happened and what didn't happen," Harvey said.
The mayor also stated he ordered a separate inquiry into all city programs that involve children and teenagers. The FBI was asked by the mayor to investigate possible violations of federal law.
"We have to get to the bottom of these disturbing allegations," Fischer said in a tweet. "We have to get the whole story - and we will."
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In 2014 LMPD "closed by exception" an investigation into then officer Kenneth Betts. "Closing by exception" typically means the investigation was dropped but not necessarily solved.
In a document obtained by WAVE 3 News, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad wrote "no further action need be taken."
We confirmed the Commonwealth Attorney's office was never contacted in 2013 for its opinion on whether any charges should be filed.
"I"m disappointed, angered and upset that really we should be focusing on these victims and trying to find as many victims as we can to make sure that we can make them whole," James said.
Harvey said his investigation will start immediately.
"The only target of this review is the truth because we just want to get at the facts," Harvey said.
Harvey served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky until this year.
LMPD officer Brandon Wood and former LMPD officer 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, according to an attorney for the alleged victim, David Yates.LMPD Major Curtis Flaherty is also named in the lawsuit and is accused of covering the allegations up.
Flaherty was the commander of the Explorer Program and was also the head of the Professional Standards Unit assigned with the investigation. We confirmed Friday Flaherty has not been reassigned and continues in his role as the commander of the Community Relations Unit. Betts resigned in 2014. Wood has since been reassigned.
Council confirmed the FBI has launched a preliminary investigation into sex abuse allegations against the program. They believe the department failed to investigate its own members after allegations surfaced in 2013.
In a press release Friday, the mayor disclosed that the city-wide review will evaluate the policies of agencies that partner with the Louisville Metro Government in order to ensure that they align with the city's practices.
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The Mayor also stated that transparency is of the "utmost importance" and has asked the courts to unseal the civil lawsuit during the criminal investigation.
Friday evening, Yates provided a statement, "I will continue to zealously protect the identity of all victims and witnesses and I look forward to work with them as we pursue justice."
He asked that anyone with information contact his office.
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