© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Disgraced former sheriff - convicted of sex crimes - wants to be cop again

A screenshot of Todd Walls' 1996 arrest warrant.
Jefferson District Court
Todd Walls was arrested in 1996 and charged with raping a 15-year-old girl. He continued to work in law enforcement for more than two decades.

A former Jefferson County deputy, who was convicted of sexual misconduct involving a 15-year-old girl in 1996, filed a lawsuit recently and wants the judge to allow him to regain his law enforcement certification.

*This story contains discussions of sexual assault.*

The Kentucky Law Enforcement Council revoked Todd Walls’ law enforcement certification last year after state legislators passed a new law that requires officers convicted of sex crimes to be decertified.

Police and sheriffs in Kentucky must be certified by the council, which oversees police training and standards across the state.

Walls said he attempted to appeal the council’s decision to revoke his certification, but his request was ignored, according to a lawsuit filed in Franklin Circuit Court in September. He wants the judge to issue an injunction allowing him to become a cop again.

While working for Louisville police in 1996, Walls was charged with rape, sodomy and unlawful transaction with a minor. Court records show that Walls used his power as a police officer to take advantage of a 15-year-old girl.

In a transcript of her interview at the time, the girl said that Walls befriended her after she was taken into police custody and that he gave her his number. They met several times over the course of about nine-months. The first time she went to his house, the girl said Walls offered her alcohol and encouraged her to drink. She remembers passing out on his couch and when she woke up, he was on top of her.

A screenshot of the police investigative file into Todd Walls.
Crimes Against Children Unit
/
City of Louisville Police
A screenshot of a transcript showing a conversation between Todd Walls and the 15-year-old girl he raped in 1996.

The case was pleaded down to a single count of sexual misconduct and Walls was sentenced to 12-months probation and a $65 fine. Then, in 2015, Walls was able to get the case expunged, despite a Kentucky law that forbids expungements involving sex crimes or crimes involving children.

Walls continued serving in law enforcement for 26 years, working for several departments in the state before joining the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in 2020.

Now in her 40s, the woman Walls assaulted said the system failed her over and over again. To protect her privacy, KyCIR is not using the woman’s name.

“I still can’t even find the words for it,” she said. “When I found out that he was still working as a police officer, it blew my mind. But then to find out also that they wiped his record clean — It's shocking. It’s like, where is my justice?”

She said she was shocked to find out that Walls is trying to get his certification back.

“It blows my mind that he somehow thinks he’s been wronged,” she said. “He took advantage of a child. He pleaded guilty. He should not have any law enforcement position ever again.”

WDRB published an investigation into Todd Walls last year, raising questions about how a Kentucky law enforcement officer convicted of a sex crime was able to keep his job for so long and why a Kentucky judge chose to illegally erase it from the record. After the investigation, KLEC revoked his certification and the Jefferson County Sheriff fired Walls.

In his lawsuit against the council, Walls says the decision to decertify him based on his prior conviction was unlawful because the case was expunged and should have been removed from the record.

“The Commonwealth was on notice that it was being expunged and didn't do anything about it,” said Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who is representing Walls. “If they objected to it, they should have appealed what the judge did back in 2015.”

But in their notice to Walls in August 2022, the law enforcement council said an expungement does not apply to the mandates of the professional certification standards. They also cited the Kentucky statute, which states that a lawful expungement may only occur if “the offense was not a sex offense or an offense committed against a child.”

KLEC declined to comment on the ongoing litigation. KyCIR also contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, but a spokesman chose not to comment.

Walls’ attorney said that regardless of the expungement, Walls thinks he was denied due process and was not given a chance to defend his appeal. He’s now hoping that his decertification will be reversed.

“All he wants to do is return to his law enforcement responsibilities and be gainfully employed as a law enforcement officer, which he was doing very effectively prior to the time his certification was revoked,” Clay said.

But according to news reports, Walls was fired from the Taylorsville Police Department in 2015 and again by the West Buechel Police Department in 2019, where he served as chief of police. Court documents show Walls sued the City of West Buechel that same year, claiming he was terminated without justification and without severance.

Through tears, the woman who was assaulted by Walls said she is praying the judge does not reverse the decision to decertify him. If they do, she said she’d lose any faith that she has left in Kentucky’s justice system.

“I’m a grandmother now,” she said. “I just cannot imagine ever having my daughter or granddaughter go through what I went through.”

Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.

Tags
LPM Investigations Youth Reporting
Jasmine Demers is an investigative reporter for LPM covering youth and social services. She is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email Jasmine at jdemers@lpm.org.