A National Disgrace
Hello I'm Laura Ingle Bill. Welcome back to another episode of Fox News Investigates This is the third installment in our series on teen sex abuse. In the Louisville Metro Police Department in the first episode we heard from two alleged victims of a former Louisville officer who detailed graphic experiences of abuse and rape in the second lawyers politicians detailed an alleged plot to cover up the misconduct. A warning that some of what's discussed in this podcast is graphic in nature and may not be suitable for young audiences. Fox News has reached out to all parties central to the scandal for a comment. Some chose not to respond. And now here's our reporter Andrew Kuyper. Hello I'm Andrew Kuyper. Thanks for joining us in this episode. We're going to hear from an academic and investigative. Let's get a journalist. Both of whom have deeply investigated. Instances of sex abuse in youth explore chapters across the nation in the first episode. We heard from two who alleged victims of a former Louisville officer with detailed graphic experiences of abuse and rape here. Cf a victim who filed a lawsuit against the officers he He said the fridge was full of alcohol. And that's when he started to come onto us and I was extremely nervous. Didn't know what to do who to call. So that's when I started drinking and from there. He took us into his bedroom and some messed up. Things happened in the second episode. We spoke with lawyers and local politicians close to the scandal. They detailed their knowledge of what they say is a cover up by police and city leadership. They helped shed light on the claims of abuse and negligence at the center of this story. Here's attorney David Gates that think that obviously The way the program was run looking back. Now I think th that level negligences. That's the standard of here but to say that they actually they they were part of that cover up. And they're part of that I think that that moves on to people in positions of authority. I think it moves all the way up named flared individually for that reason because he ran the the program. The allegations of abuse made by the victims are striking not only because of the severity of them but also because of the pattern they establish. It appears the officers would groomed groomed scouts beginning with inappropriate text messages and eventually escalating their actions to increasingly more sexual and perverse levels. They seem to have exploited. The innocence inhibition of the teenagers. Unfortunately sexual abuse in the Youth Explores Program isn't unique to Louisville. There have been hundreds of documented cases of officers exploiting their positions as mentors to prey on teen cadets. In some cases officers were prosecuted and convicted and others. They resigned or fired from the force today. We'll hear from a local investigative journalist and unacademic both of whom have written extensively on the abuse within the youth explorers programs across the nation. The first Andrew Wolfson he's a longtime investigative reporter with the Courier Journal and Louisville he compiled a database of sex abuse lawsuits against officers involved in police youth explorer programs across the nation from newspaper articles in court filings. We got a tip that A A an officer had been suspended because some allegations involving in his role as a adviser to the explorer program and We weren't able to write I too much about it. And then finally there was a Sealed lawsuit filed under a pseudonym search for the plaintiff. I think that was NC. I remember correctly and We got a a copy of the lawsuit and then went from there. NC was the first victim to file a civil lawsuit. Food Against Former Louisville officers can his bets and Brandon would the lawsuits made explosive allegations and claimed to officers raped him and also recorded boarded the acts on camera. Neither of the former officers were made available for interviews or comment. NC's Lawsuit Tore Louisville Thunder. It was the first of an eventual seven seven lawsuits filed against members of the Louisville Metro Police Department and city leadership. And that I that I reporting that you did on on NC's lawsuit over the ripple effects. I think people were disturbed that That this involved police and had apparently had gone on for a long time and One turned out that an officer who had been allowed allowed to resign from the department was one of the accused and so I think there was a suspicion of whether it was properly handled When it first came to light Wolfson spearheaded a nationwide investigation into sex abuse in the Youth Explorer Program Program? He found one hundred and sixty two victims in at least twenty eight states over the past forty years. Well I am reading about the explorers of it wasn't hard to come. Upon the fact that there were cases stretching back decades we've found that the the executives in charge of scouting in explorer program specifically did not respond respond in an effective way as these cases emerged Part of the problem was that authority was diffused fused between the the scouting organization and The police departments that actually ran these programs. Some of the details wolfson uncovered were harrowing the youngest victims he came across. We're just thirteen years old. In Oregon he found a case where five officers made a sex tape with two boys and two girls. Another instance in Rhode Island six officers had sex with just one girl in Los Angeles. A former explorer turn officer was sentenced to eleven years in prison for sodomizing teenage boys. In some cases the officers prosecuted and served jail time and others they we're allowed to resign or even remained on the force and we were there any patterns. That you that you came across. I think The one thread was a The victims like all explorer scouts were Kind of enthralled with police and wanted to at least consider instead of pursuing those career so they were kicked. Roy Vulnerable to a authority of officers. This cuts to the heart of the issue. The victims victims were abused by officers in positions of power who exploited the kids desire to enter their profession. This exploitation of ambition destroyed many young lives well I think it's it begins. With Manipulation Police Officers Authority figures and some authors really know how to use that in waste aches specially with a teenager that Samuel Walker professor emeritus at the School of Criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Home home the big cop you know. I'm out there dealing with dangerous situations and so on. Well appeals really. Gets the attention of of of you know some younger people in one thing can lead to another in two thousand and three Walker published a study police sex abuse of teen girls. He found over thirty cases where officers were punished for. Sex Abuse in the youth. Explorer Program got calls from people after the initial report was done people who've been and then victims are their parents and so on and And and we got a sense that there are a lot of. I'm pretty. I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of cases where The parents don't go public and there are undoubtedly a lot of cases where the girls themselves never tell their parents or anybody else. So the the the exact amount of of how often this occurs is simply unknown. I I compare it to an iceberg. The keys we counter the tip of the iceberg but as we know about icebergs you know the most of it is below the water level. This seems to hold with the incidents in Louisville where attorney said there were many more victims than those who filed lawsuits. The ones who haven't come forward or maybe even more embarrassed than Children who are abused by police Because they you know. They looked up to Police and least we're entertaining the idea of becoming one so I don't think it's going to grow to those proportions but we haven't really I mean there's obviously I think what what I wrote that story. I think there's still only two or three cases here service more come to the fore here. Walkers concerned with some of the practices and policies of departments who run explorer programs namely how they conduct ride alongs and social interactions in a number of the cases officers were found to invite cadets into their homes and give them alcohol such is the case with cf who detailed his raped by officer. Kenneth Bets in our first episode in California Walker found a two thousand and two case where an officer pled guilty to multiple sexual misconduct charges for abusing three sixteen year old often during late night. Ride alongs my concern is that not enough is being done to To make sure nothing Nothing bad happens and and again I you get to the point of of just basic police supervision. You have to be careful which officer you choose to run the program which officers are actually going to be out there alone with nature's male or female and again it's officers there's get reputations And so you do your opportunity to do some careful screening You can you you can. Do you know closer supervision in terms of policies of you know Not spending like social time together. I mean if if the explorer program has a ride along on patrol You know there you just don't have the the opportunities if they're gonNA stop and go park somewhere and just you know extensively to talk talk. I mean that's an invitation to disaster so there there are. There are ways to control this in his report Walker noted that learning for life maintains procedures news and policies meant to protect against sexual misconduct in explore programs. Still local journalists Wolfson have had trouble holding them to account it. It seems like this is a problem that runs pretty deep in that program. I was never able to get the The leaders of the program Nationally Ashley to say how many kids have been involved over the years. I mean obviously only a very small percentage of officers this or explorers were implicated. I do think it shows that Any any program for you Will attract some adults who Are Looking to abuse them or trying to satisfy father proletarian my own attempts to speak with officials in the national program. We're similarly fruitless more than a dozen attempts to contact learning for life and the boy scouts lots of America which learning for life operates under with detailed questions were not returned to date. There have been seven. Civil Lawsuits Filed Against Officers Involved Louisville Metro Police Departments Youth Explore Program in the city of Louisville. Well they could be on the hook for substantial settlements to the victims the average sediment I think your in your reporting was over four hundred thousand I believe so. How do you see some of this turning out here and I know it's hard to say I don't imagine we'll go to trial I think there may be some questions about Statutes of limitation whether cases for filed timely. Fashion Some of the And the age of the Scouts of Time Generally Kentucky the age of consent is eighteen. But there's an exception for when the alleged abuser abuser. As A in a position of trust like a teacher or minister and I guess it'll be litigated whether that also applies to explorer leaders nationally Wolfson found the average settlement was over four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. There were seventy five criminal. Charges filed resulting in forty nine convictions of the one hundred sixty two victims. One one hundred thirty seven were female and twenty. Five were male in Louisville both male and female cadets were abused independently Walker was able to validate the scale all of Wolfson's findings as a result of his research. He contributed to report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police that addresses sexual misconduct in police departments. It's I think there needs to be more about this among the within the law enforcement profession at professional meetings And and more discussion of particular departments where you know like good to hear hear hear chiefs and captains there's you know Talk about how they got wind of something and they acted looked into it and then they took decisive action pretty quickly. It's really the the culture of of particular departments Walker said accountability lies with leadership at each department. If chiefs don't set the tone then it's easy for this kind of abuse is to flourish under their watch. Such is the case in Louisville or whistle blowers like Jimmy Harper who alerted local politicians to the scandal are punished for bypassing. The chain of Command Harper recently won a settlement in his whistle blower lawsuit protected the ones who blow the whistle. Yeah Oh absolutely we don't have enough whistleblowing because they don't get protection. I want to speak to the ones that extended over time that speaks to the culture of a particular department where they have come to accept tolerate misconduct. Look the other way. And it's it's sort of gets built in You know you I find that playing out in I mean that's that's what allows corruption to flourish in in some departments Walker said. The chiefs are advised advised to institute a zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct one with consequences including the firing or prosecution of officers involved ignite. There's no easy fix. Changing culture within a police department isn't an overnight task but it's something that must happen. Police must be accountable accountable to the public they serve it remains to be seen. Whether or not the investigations in Louisville result in a change in police leadership what is known though are some of the impacts of sexual assault has on Victims Caccia s does is a twenty two year old woman who survived being raped by a family member. Her experience it pushed her to become a victims rights advocate and Louisville councilman. David Yates represented her years ago in a civil lawsuit that put him on the map as a fighter for victims of sex crimes. Kacha has been a vocal totem of support and advocacy for the Youth Explore Victims in Louisville. One in four girls and one in six boys this will be substantive piece at a time or eighteen and I think those numbers are just outrageous. And it's something that people brushed under the rug or they don't believe victims or they'd be little then and I feel like David has always had that voice to stand up and be like and while this is happening. This is happening communities in baffled by. He won't stop doing that. Caccia was raised in Louisville but adopted from Russia. Uh when she was an infant her abuse happened in Kentucky and much of her experience mirrors that of the youth explorer cadets. Sorry Mix matere advocate. Because like it's just something that comes close and you have detectives lawyers advocates around Utah. Help you and they do very well taught that you just feel so alone isolated. You know as someone who who's going through all of the all of the difficulties for someone who was abused. How important is that to put that out there to know that there are people in the world who who validate crucial? I feel like when somebody feels like they are being be he little by the situation or people are blaming them for the views. That's when I mean that's when when it goes downhill in many different ways. I mean there are already dealing with the trauma itself on top of disclosing in being vulnerable position. Listen I always want to say like I hear you believe you because I want them to know that I have their back. Caccia works with a local organization called the family children's place in two thousand sixteen the year. Yates filed the first lawsuit on behalf of alleged victim and see she won a national award for advocacy work. The thing is people say like Oh sex fingers and there's this whole like people try to say that they look like a certain person or they have the big white truck in the give out candy and it's not like that it can be in your family. It could be in your school. It could be a a youth through it can be anywhere to be in your local police department and unfortunately that Caccia brings up a valid point. You heard what happened in the case with CF. He came from a long line of firemen and Law Enforcement Smith. Duty and honor was in his blood line. That was. I got me involved in the public services I I'd always had interest and helping people so that was one of the first things I could do. Being a public servant was was a world. CF thought he knew and more importantly he thought he could trust so. I know that you haven't been able to talk with any of the kids from the Youth Explores Program Anwar any of the ones named in the lawsuits. But if you could tell them anything What would you say? What would you let them know you all are so great you guys the warriors I hear you? I validate you. I'm rooting for you. Just don't give up that fight because it is so hard is so detrimental but you have an army people that love you and support you and and I wish I could give you all know I can't but you guys are warriors. Keep fighting the fight. It's GonNa be hard. It's going going to be very depressed if you're GONNA YOU'RE GONNA go through this trauma triggers. It's GonNa Happen but is have to stay strong victims names of sexual violence experienced trauma that manifests in a variety of ways. A study reported in the clinical psychology review found that adults who experienced sexual assault where seventy percent more likely to contemplate suicide. They had higher rates of anxiety depression and drug use. We've mentioned lawyers for the victims. uh-huh in Louisville who said their clients have exhibited similar behaviors. Here's councilman David. James with the tragic story minor standing as the FBI Interviewed that individual vigil Earlier in the day believe it was around ten. AM in the morning. I ended the interview lasted two to three hours And then that individual left The interview came home and about two hours later. committed suicide attorney deviates corroborated the suicide. CF and Darryl are two alleged victims officers in the middle of this scandal both shared their stories in exclusive interviews with Fox News in our first episode. CF is still pursuing his civil lawsuit against Officer Bets and the Louisville Metro Police Department. He's currently recovering from injuries. Sustained while in a motor vehicle accident while serving in the army. I hope that this will shed a light on the police department. Show what happened and I hope that nationally if this is happening elsewhere the explores floors are cadets will come forward and not be scared to do so. Darryl retired from the police force in two thousand fourteen due to progressively worsening health conditions. He's now working part time in the Louisville area and actively seeking professional counseling as an outlet for the trauma from the abuse. He suffered by officer bets. He thinks that there's been ongoing sexual abuse in the program for years before what's been reported. The Police Department is overwhelmingly. Great people you know bought by the most level but you know you see stories like this. We're occasionally there's a bad apple that comes in in this case. I think I think it it happened before. Bet some would We'll we'll put bet worry Darryl said he's waiting for justice for the other victims and hoping for a change in police and city leadership in our fourth episode so we'll dive into a number of allegations made in five recently unsealed explorer lawsuits. We'll also update you on the criminal cases against baton would as well. What was the political ramifications? This saga has had on the current mayoral race in the Derby City Andrew. Thank you again. Thanks for listening. We hope you'll stick around around for the fourth installment in our series which dives into allegations made public in the remaining five civil lawsuits. You've been listening to Fox News investigates. I'm Laura ingle.