Louisville, Kentucky exploded in March 2017 when the first allegations of teen sex abuse became public in a lawsuit. The outcry only grew when six additional suits were filed. The accusations were damning; teens said a handful of Louisville Metro Police Department officers coerced, enticed, filmed and abused teens enrolled in the local Youth Explorer program.
Dive into the four-part podcast from the Investigative Unit at Fox News, available exclusively through Apple Podcasts, to understand the myriad reasons why the scandal upended the Derby City. Download all the episodes Nov. 4, but subscribe now.
Fox News reached out to all parties who were subject to allegations of wrongdoing, including the Louisville Metro Police Department, attorneys for the officers named in lawsuits, and the Boy Scouts of America – a parent organization of the Youth Explorer program.
In the first episode of the “Derby City Betrayal,” we hear prominently from “C.F.”, who was one of the first to file a lawsuit for the abuse he experienced as a teen in the LMPD’s Youth Explorer program.
“I had about two or three [alcoholic drinks], and I had a buzz. And that's when he pulled us back into his room, started taking our clothes off and kind of pushed us onto the bed.”
“It was beyond, like, friendly conversations,” he recalls regarding the officer. “He would ask for nude pictures. Ask for favors. Stuff like that. Ask if I would want to go work details or do ride-alongs with him.”
What started with uncomfortable conversations culminated with C.F. being raped by the authority figure, he said.
“I had about two or three [alcoholic drinks], and I had a buzz,” he said, recalling the night he and a fellow cadet said they were abused by the officer. “And that's when he pulled us back into his room, started taking our clothes off and kind of pushed us onto the bed.”
In the second episode of “Derby City Betrayal,” you’ll hear from local politicians and attorneys who detail attempts to undermine civil litigation by county lawyers.
What began with complaints about an officer sending inappropriate text messages to a teenage girl snowballed into a full-blown scandal involving allegations of sexually abused teens, multiple lawsuits, an FBI investigation, and federal grand jury charges.
Now, whistleblowers in Louisville say the pursuit for justice was derailed by police leaders who wanted to protect their brothers in blue.
“There was never any work done to find out if there were any other victims within the Explorer Program,” Louisville Metro Councilman David James said. “You would think that you would want to know if anybody else had been a victim, or anybody else had been approached, or if there're any other officers involved in anything inappropriate, but that never happened.”
Our third episode in the “Derby City Betrayal” saga looks into the history of sexual abuse in the mentorship program through data and expert testimony. Interviews with investigative journalists and academics detail the troubled past of the Youth Explorers in Kentucky and across the country.
"Well, it begins with manipulation. Police officers are authority figures, and some police officers really know how to use that in a manipulative way – especially with a teenager.”
The scandal in the Derby City is one incident in a decades-long pattern found in dozens of Youth Explorer chapters across the country that caught the attention of at least one criminal justice expert.
“Well, it begins with manipulation,” Samuel Walker, professor emeritus at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said. “Police officers are authority figures, and some police officers really know how to use that in a manipulative way – especially with a teenager.”
In the final installment in “Derby City Betrayal,” we look at the groundswell of allegations against a few officers within the Louisville Metro Police Department and the long road taken to bring them to justice.
Seven lawsuits have been filed on behalf of former Youth Explorer cadets. All are now unsealed, and the allegations of rape, stalking, sexual assault, and intimidation have been added to previously reported accusations. The lawsuits detail negligence and cover-up by officers in the mentorship program. The plaintiffs allege this lack of accountability helped to protect the primary abusers.
The seven Youth Explorer lawsuits paint a composite picture of sexual abuse, negligence, and coordinated cover-ups within the ranks of LMPD officers. Most incidents point towards one senior officer with a major conflict of interest – he supervised both the Youth Explorers program and the unit tasked with investigating the misconduct of officers.
Join Laura Ingle and Andrew Keiper and dive into “Derby City Betrayal.” You can binge the podcast exclusively through Apple Podcasts.
If you or a loved one has stories of sexual abuse in any Youth Explorers program across the nation, please reach out Andrew Keiper by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.