LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There are claims of a coverup at the highest levels of Louisville's police department -- claims that involve officers raping a teenage boy.
Attorney David Yates, who is president of the Louisville Metro Council, filed a lawsuit this week against the city he represents, the Louisville Metro Police Department and three of its officers, claiming the teen was sexually assaulted by two officers over several years in the department's Youth Explorer Program.
"It literally shocks the conscious of any reasonable person to know a 16-year-old child being raped by a police officer in a position of authority, and then when he confides in another officer, a supervisor in a position of authority, and he's abused by that officer too," said Yates. "That is appalling, that is sickening, that is disgusting."
LMPD reassigned Officer Brandon Wood in October amid the investigation, and Officer Kenneth Betts quit in April 2014 after complaints came to light.
"I know that LMPD members of leadership has known about this through a resignation letter for almost five years," Yates said.
Both are accused of having sex with the boy between the ages of 16 and 19 -- a complaint of statutory rape due to their positions of power. The victim is now in his 20s.
"They did not come forward," said Yates. "They did not arrest...and that's unacceptable."
The Explorer program mentors teens interested in a career in law enforcement. The students work with officers at events like Thunder over Louisville and Derby.
In fact, Betts and Woods were once student Explorers themselves before joining the force. Betts was even named "Explorer of the Year."
Yates claims their positions help lead to a cover-up. He says the case names Betts, Wood, LMPD Maj. Curtis Flaherty, the city of Louisville, the Louisville Metro Police Department, and the Boy Scouts as defendants
"There's been some bad, bad people in position of authority and they have not been held accountable," Yates said. "They've been protected by other bad people."
LMPD says its criminal investigation is ongoing.
The lawsuit was sealed by Judge Judith McDonald Burkman at the request of Yates.
Steve Schroering, an attorney for Woods, said he is innocent of any wrongdoing. Brian Butler, an attorney for Betts, declined to comment.
In a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer calls the allegations appalling.
"Although this case is under seal by the courts, these allegations are appalling," Mayor Fischer said. "The LMPD Explorers program is a quality initiative that helps identify young men and women who could be future police officers and law enforcement leaders. There is no place for abuse, especially sexual abuse of children, at LMPD or at Metro Government. Chief Conrad launched an criminal investigations into the allegations when they surfaced, and those investigations continue. I trust that all the facts will soon emerge in this case."
Kelly Bedtelyon, a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America, also issued a written statement:
"The Lincoln Heritage Council, Boy Scouts of America, extends its deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse. While we cannot discuss ongoing litigation, any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. The behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands. Once we were made aware of the allegations we took immediate action to remove Officers Wood and Betts and precluded both from any further participation in the Scouting program. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse."
But even as the case moves forward, the County Attorney posits that there is a conflict of interest involved with Yates serving as head of the Louisville Metro Council.
Yates says he has checked with ethics attorneys and they say it is not an issue.
"I think it's almost appalling that the response to a child rape and a cover-up is...to say that the lawyer shouldn't bring it," Yates said.
"I am so disappointed," he added. "I am hurt, and most of all angry that this was allowed to happen."
Former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts' 2014 resignation letter says he was due for promotion but left to finish his doctorate degree. Below is the letter:
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