Three female informants who accused a former Louisville Metro Police Department detective of soliciting sexual favors in exchange for helping them stay out of jail just settled their two-year lawsuit with the city for $1.8 million.
The officer they accused, Det. Brian Bailey, was recently the subject of a nearly two-year-long VICE News investigation that uncovered a pattern of sexual misconduct by Louisville Metro PD officers. One of the women, VICE News learned, estimated that Bailey had pressured her to perform oral sex on him more than two dozen times and provided investigators with a shirt she had kept that she said contained Bailey’s semen.
“When I got out, he showed up… and told me I owed him,” the woman, referred to as Jane Doe, told investigators in her interview. When asked what she meant by “owed,” she said: “Pretty much what he wanted was his dick sucked.”
The settlement regarding the allegations against Bailey, which was first reached in September and finalized earlier this month, comes two years after the initial lawsuit was brought against Bailey and the police department.
During its investigation, VICE News obtained internal documents and recordings going back more than a decade and conducted interviews with multiple accusers, as well as current and former members of the police department. The information showed how the department repeatedly failed to take allegations seriously, allowing problem officers like Bailey, who resigned last year, to continue acting unchecked and, in some cases, to victimize more women.
The police department was first made aware of sexual misconduct allegations against Bailey back in 2016, when a woman filed an official complaint with the department alleging that the former detective had sexually abused her while she was working for him as a confidential informant. The woman told investigators she still had a phone with the pictures Bailey had sent of his penis, but investigators lost track of her after the call and never got the phone she said contained evidence, according to the case file obtained by VICE News.
The case was closed six months later, after investigators asked Bailey to sit down for an interview and he refused.
But that wasn’t the last time the department would hear allegations of sexual abuse against the former detective. Two more women filed official complaints, including one in 2020, with an even more serious allegation—and evidence.
While investigators waited for confirmation from the lab, another woman came forward with similar allegations against Bailey. She said Bailey let her take fentanyl before giving him oral sex. Twice, she said, he gave her the drugs, according to her interview with internal investigators, which was obtained by VICE News.
Last year, investigators with the Louisville Metro Police Department confirmed that the T-shirt provided by Doe contained semen that matched Bailey’s DNA and concluded that Bailey had coerced sexual favors from multiple confidential informants, lied to investigators, and broken the law. But no charges were filed because the Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office was still reviewing the case. It’s unclear what exactly that review entails, but VICE News learned that the attorney’s office is requesting more phone records, as well as follow-up interviews with victims.
VICE News’ recent investigation found that the number of women Bailey solicited is likely much higher than the handful who have come forward. Case files from the department’s public integrity unit, which investigates potential criminal behavior by officers, show that the police department was made aware of at least five other women who had been subject to similar behavior. It’s unclear if any of those women are being interviewed as part of the Commonwealth Attorney Office’s review of the case.
Louisville Metro Police Department investigators opened a follow-up investigation into potential policy violations committed by Bailey, but he resigned one day before his scheduled interview.
The $1.8 million settlement comes on the heels of a string of problematic news for the department. In August, four current and former officers—Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Hanna Goodlett, and Kyle Meany—were federally charged for their involvement in the 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor.
Earlier this month, two other former officers were sentenced to federal prison after they were caught on video throwing drinks at pedestrians from their patrol car. One of them, Bryan Wilson, was also found guilty of cyberstalking. Wilson hacked into the online accounts of more than two dozen women and then attempted to blackmail several of them by threatening to send private photos to friends, family, and employers.
The Department of Justice investigation into whether the Louisville Metro Police Department has “patterns and practices” of violating citizens’ rights, which was launched in 2021, is still ongoing.
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