The Louisville Metro Police Department concealed at least 738,000 records documenting the sexual abuse of Explorer Scouts by two officers and lied to keep the files from the public, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The newspaper requested records on sexual abuse of minors by two officers in the Explorer Scout program for youths interested in law enforcement careers. Police officials and the Jefferson County Attorney’s office said they couldn’t comply, insisting the records had been turned over to the FBI for an investigation. In fact, the department still had at least 738,000 records, which the city allowed to be deleted. The records could shed light on when officials learned of allegations of sexual abuse of youths by officers and what the officials did or failed to do about it.
“I have practiced open-records law since the law was enacted 45 years ago, and I have never seen anything so brazen,” said Jon Fleischaker, an attorney for the Courier Journal. “I think it an outrage.” Kenyon Meyer, a lawyer hired by the county attorney’s office to investigate, insisted he has found no evidence the office violated the open-records act. In 2016, the police department confirmed an officer was under investigation for his conduct in the program for young people. A 22-year-old alleged in a lawsuit he was sexually abused by officers in the Explorer program when he was between 17 and 19 years old. The suit, which six other plaintiffs joined, accused the city and the police department of conspiring to cover up the abuse. In 2017, Mayor Greg Fischer shut the program down. Former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, who was hired by the city, found police mishandled allegations that teens were sexually abused and harassed in the program and there was “violations of policy and mistakes in judgment, some significant.”