Law allowed chef to hire teen he’s accused of abusing


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- We have new information about a loophole in Kentucky law that allowed a well-known Lexington chef on the sex offender registry to hire a teen he’s now accused of sexually abusing.

Chef Willie Love Talley is charged with inappropriately touching his 17-year-old employee and recording surveillance of her when sex offenders aren’t supposed to record minors.

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Chef Talley is known for feeding the homeless, first responders, and kids for free, but the community got a reminder Wednesday that Talley is a registered sex offender.

More than a decade ago, he was convicted of raping a 15-year-old. Now, he’s accused of sexually abusing another teen.

According to court documents, early this May Talley kissed and fondled a 17-year-old employee in a storage closet at his boardwalk barbecue joint.

Talley’s also in trouble because the store’s surveillance video shows them together. As a sex offender, Talley isn’t supposed to record kids, but why isn’t he in trouble for hiring a teen? Registered sex offenders aren’t supposed to go near schools, day cares, or other places where you’re likely to find kids.

“There’s no law against a business owner who is on the sex offender registry to hire children of age to work,” Trooper Bernie Napier said.

Talley didn’t just work with a young woman, though. Last year, ABC 36 covered him offering a free back to school lunch for kids.

Talley was legally allowed to be near those kids.

“There is no law or stipulation that requires them to not be around children,” Napier said.

What’s more, Trooper Bernie Napier explains the chef landed on the registry in 2002 and it was only after 2006 lawmakers ordered offenders not go within 1000 feet of places like schools and public parks.

Anyone on the registry before that, including Chef Talley, doesn’t have to abide by those rules. Napier says he hasn’t heard any talk about changing that.

While Chef Talley often invited ABC36 to cover the free meals he offered, Thursday we were sent straight to voice mail.

We do know, from court documents, Talley denied abusing his teen employee until a Lexington police officer showed him the surveillance video.

According to the officer, when the chef saw it he acknowledged kissing the teen, said it was unprofessional, and it happened once.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at She looks forward to hearing from you!