Explorer victims' attorney criticizes city's 'delay tactic' in sex scandal

Explorer victims' attorney criticizes city's 'delay tactic' in sex scandal
The ongoing investigation into the LMPD Explorer sex scandal is raising new questions.
Kenneth Betts (left) and Brandon Wood (right) have been criminally charged and named in several lawsuits. (Source: LMPD)
Kenneth Betts (left) and Brandon Wood (right) have been criminally charged and named in several lawsuits. (Source: LMPD)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Perhaps lost in this week's back-and-forth between LMPD and Metro Council are the alleged victims in the Explorer sex scandal.

A 90-page report, commissioned by Mayor Greg Fischer's office, was released Wednesday evening, flaring tempers on both sides.

City Councilmembers and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spoke to WAVE 3 News about their frustrations.

And Friday, attorney Tad Thomas spoke exclusively with WAVE 3 News about how he's fighting for the alleged victims.

"I want the public to know that this report is far from the whole story," he said.

He said his clients are going through a roller coaster of emotions, especially since the case has dragged on for so long.

The Explorer Program report was completed in March, according to billing documents obtained by WAVE 3 News, but it wasn't released until Wednesday.

The Metro Council went back and forth with the mayor's office, and hired its own attorney to make the report public. There was concern from Fischer's office that the report would interfere with the FBI's criminal investigation.

Ultimately, that argument failed after the council agreed to some redactions made collaboratively by attorneys on both sides.

The investigator who compiled the report, former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, contacted Thomas for information and an interview, the report stated. Thomas, however, refused that request. He said it's because the city has refused to give his side the information he's requested to build his case.

"When Mr. Harvey contacted me, it became obvious that it'd be a one-way flow of information," Thomas said.

Thomas said many of the open records requests he's submitted have been denied or delayed.

"I think that they're trying to drag their feet past election season," he said.

He said he's been stonewalled and blocked from access to information he believes he has a right to see as the victims' attorney. He said these actions by the city are a "delay tactic," citing a 6(e) letter -- a federal rule that establishes levels of secrecy for a grand jury and is part of the criminal procedure.

"They essentially drug their feet until the FBI issued their 6(e) letter and then now they say, 'We can't give you anything because it's all 6(e) information and the FBI is not letting us produce it, which I don't believe is accurate," Thomas said.

"They give us a report that's heavily redacted," he continued. "The report was completed months ago but only just now released. To say that the city's been transparent in this process is simply not accurate."

Friday, Thomas gave a voice to the several people who said they were seriously hurt by the two accused officers and by the lack of transparency and justice.

"Some days, they're extremely angered when they see things that are said on TV that they know are not true," Thomas said. "But they all want to see the process through and they all want to see justice done."

Thomas is now waiting on the FBI -- and to get people under oath in his civil case.

"A lot of information is still out there that PIU has, that the FBI has and I think that the other shoe is still left to drop," he said.

LMPD did respond to our request for comment on Thomas's statements. They said they did comply by providing the documents they could. They provided the following statement:

"Mr. Thomas submitted several open records requests to LMPD. We responded to those requests and provided all the information that we were legally able to provide. Per KRS and federal guidelines, some of his requests were denied. Mr. Thomas filed an appeal of the denials to the Office of the Attorney General. In late May, the Attorney General's office issued a ruling on that appeal, overwhelmingly confirming the department's actions. We will comply with that order."

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