Former LMPD Officer Sentenced To 16 Years For Enticing Minors, Distribution, And Possession Of Child Porn
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States District Judge David J. Hale has sentenced Kenneth R. Betts to 16 years’ imprisonment, followed by 20 years of Supervised Release, after he pleaded guilty in December of 2018 to enticement, attempted enticement, possession of child pornography, transfer of obscene materials to a minor, and distribution of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Russell Coleman. The Court ordered Betts to pay a $5,000.00 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. And, an Agreed Order of Restitution in the amount of $20,000.00 will be entered with regard to John Doe 1.
“We know all too well that LMPD officers place their lives at jeopardy daily to protect our kids,” stated U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Mr. Betts’ foul conduct tarnished his badge and earned him over a decade and a half in federal prison with no parole.”
Kenneth R. Betts, 34, of Shelbyville, Kentucky, was charged in an Indictment returned by a federal Grand Jury on November 7, 2018, with one count of distribution of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, three counts of enticement of individuals under the age of 18 years to engage in sexual activity, one count of transfer of obscene materials to an individual under the age of 16, and one count of attempted enticement of an individual under the age of 18. All of his criminal conduct occurred in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
According to the Plea Agreement, in or about and between February 2006 and February 2008, Betts communicated with an individual (John Doe 1), who had not attained the age of eighteen years. Betts communicated with John Doe 1 via Facebook and other social media. During those communications, Betts knowingly persuaded, induced, and enticed John Doe 1 to engage in sexual activity, including sharing sexually explicit images with Betts. The resending of such images is sexual activity that constitutes a criminal offense.
On or about May 14, 2014, Betts knowingly distributed child pornography. He sent two of the images referenced above to John Doe 1. Betts transmitted the images to John Doe 1 using Facebook.
Law enforcement officials executed a state search warrant on Betts’ residence on October 13, 2016. Among other things, they seized digital devices – including an external hard drive. Forensic examination of the digital devices revealed Betts’ possession of child pornography. Namely, he possessed the four images he originally requested and received from John Doe 1.
John Doe 2 (Counts 4 and 5). On or about and between May 2010 and May 2014, Betts communicated via the Internet with an individual (John Doe 2), who had not attained the age of eighteen years. The two met and became acquainted through the LMPD Explorers Program. Betts communicated with John Doe 2 via Facebook and other social media platforms. During those communications, Betts knowingly persuaded, induced, and enticed John Doe 2 to engage in sexual activity. The sexual activities included a one-time in-person sexual encounter involving oral sex between Betts and John Doe 2 and repeated requests for sexually explicit images to be shared with Betts. The oral sex and requests for photos are activities for which a person may be prosecuted for a criminal offense.
From May 2010 through May 2012, Betts used a facility and means of interstate commerce to send pictures of himself to John Doe 2. During that time period, Betts knew John Doe 2 had not attained the age of 16 years.
Jane Doe 1 (Count 6) On or about and between June 2013 and July 2013, Betts used a facility and means of interstate commerce, that is, a cellular telephone and its text messaging feature, to communicate with Jane Doe 1. At that point in time, Jane Doe 1 was 16. The two met and became acquainted through the LMPD Explorers Program. During the communications, Betts asked Jane Doe 1 to meet for sexual activity. He also asked Jane Doe 1 for sexually explicit photos, which Jane Doe 1 provided to him. The photos Jane Doe 1 provided constituted a violation of Kentucky law. Law enforcement officials with LMPD observed the images as well as the receipt of those images by Betts. However, the images were destroyed during the initial investigation.
John Doe 3 (Count 7) On or about and between September 2014 and November 2014, Betts used a facility and means of interstate commerce, that is, a cellular telephone, Facebook and SnapChat (a social media platform), to communicate with John Doe 3. At that point in time, John Doe 3 was 17. Betts and John Doe 3 had met and become acquainted through the LMPD Explorers Program. During the communications, Betts asked John Doe 3 to meet for sexual activity. He also asked John Doe 3 for sexually explicit photos. He attempted to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce John Doe 3 to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Betts sent John Doe 3 a photograph of himself wearing an LMPD uniform and in the company of a young woman during some of the communications encouraging a three-way. However, John Doe 3 refused to meet Betts for sexual activity or to send the requested sexually explicit images of himself.
Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless prosecuted the case, and it was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."