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November 5, 2013

Phelps pleads guilty, must register as sex offender

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A former school administrator will serve a three-year prison sentence and register as a sex offender after entering guilty pleas in Laurel Circuit Court on Thursday.

Charles Douglas Phelps, 54, answered “guilty” to two felony charges before Laurel Circuit Judge Tom Jensen.

Clad in a brown jumpsuit issued from the Laurel County Detention Center,  the 54-year-old Phelps stood between his attorneys, Gary Crabtree and Conrad Cessna, both of London, as he entered the guilty pleas.

Phelps will now serve a two-year sentence for possessing child pornography, followed by another year’s imprisonment for tampering with a witness. He is currently on home incarceration until his sentencing date of Nov. 15, with the conditions he have no contact with two victims in a sexual abuse indictment and no access to or possession of a cell phone, computer, the Internet, or text messaging device. He is permitted to leave his residence only for court appearances and to meet with the Office of Probation and Parole.

Phelps’ trial date for first-degree sexual abuse was put off on Oct. 8 when the witness failed to appear to testify against him. Phelps was ordered to have no contact with either victim of a 2012 indictment that accused him of exposing then 14- and 17-year old girls to sexual contact in early Nov. 2011. He was indicted in Feb. 2012 on three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of unlawful transaction with a minor in which he allegedly exposed the 14-year-old to sexual contact and gave her alcohol on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5, and subjecting the 17-year-old to sexual contact and giving her alcohol on Nov. 5.

But when the 14-year-old recanted her claims just before Phelps’ trial date last year, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele requested those charges be dropped. The sexual contact charge involving the 17-year-old remained.

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