Thursday July 25, 2024
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Credit: Louisville Metro Police

Mayor Greg Fischer appointed former U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey to conduct a wide-ranging special investigation into allegations surrounding the LMPD Explorer program.

The Mayor also ordered a separate extensive inquiry into all city programs that involve children and teenagers. This inquiry will determine if adequate steps are in place to protect youth and will review and recommend national best practices and policies.

Mayor Fischer has also asked the FBI’s Louisville Office to investigate potential violations of federal law related to sexual abuse allegations in the LMPD Explorer program.

“We have to get to the bottom of these disturbing allegations — for ourselves, for our citizens, for the thousands of LMPD officers who are honest, compassionate, courageous people of integrity,” Mayor Fischer said. “We need to know the truth. And, most importantly, for the victims of anyone who may have committed a crime while wearing an LMPD uniform.

“We have to get the whole story — and we will.”

Special investigator appointed

Until this year, Harvey served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, a position from which he oversaw the high-profile investigations of former state Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer and state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

Louisville Metro Government today contracted Harvey to examine the allegations of sexual abuse in the LMPD Explorer program, and also actions of city employees and others regarding the alleged abuse.

Mayor Fischer’s office began discussion with Harvey on Tuesday and signed a contract today. Harvey will also periodically update the Metro Council Government Accountability committee on his work.

“Kerry Harvey has a reputation for conducting dogged investigations and holding public institutions accountable,” Mayor Fischer said. “That’s exactly what I expect he’ll do here — conduct a full, comprehensive investigation that will lead to accountability.”

Harvey is being commissioned to look into LMPD and other city entities — conducting interviews, reviewing documents and other activities — to fully ascertain what happened within and around the Explorer program. His investigation will parallel a criminal investigation of the allegations underway by Louisville Metro Police.

“The allegations surrounding the Explorer program, if true, represent unacceptable conduct involving children, and the citizens of Louisville deserve to know what happened,” said Harvey, who assumed the U.S. Attorney post in 2010 and currently is with the Lexington office of the Dickinson Wright law firm.

Citywide inquiry to ensure safety

A separate inquiry will examine all city departments and agencies that have programs for children and teens — or interactions with youth — to determine if adequate steps are in place to protect youth.

The inquiry will also lead to recommendations of national best practices and policies.

“I believe the vast majority of our programs operate effectively, safely and are following best practices, but I am extremely disturbed about the allegations that have surfaced in the Explorer program,” Fischer said. “My concern is that children are protected – and I want parents and grandparents to know that we are taking the welfare of their children seriously.”

The review will be wide-ranging because many departments offer programs for or interact with youth, from Metro Parks to LMPD to Youth Detention Services. The inquiry will also appraise the policies of agencies that partner with Louisville Metro Government, to ensure that they align with the best practices followed by the city.

The first step will be an inventory of all programs involving youth, which the city’s Human Resources Department will undertake. Then, the city will hire an outside national agency to review the programs.

The Mayor said the inquiry is necessary because Louisville Metro Government offers programs or partners with many local agencies on children and youth programming – and a fresh perspective is important. He will direct that the inquiry is both comprehensive and undertaken swiftly.

Fischer said that “no stone will be left unturned” as the city investigates the allegations that have surfaced in the Explorer program. The Mayor also said that transparency is of utmost importance. That is why he asking the courts to unseal the civil lawsuit while the criminal investigation continues.