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November 19, 2013

Phelps sentenced, incarcerated on Friday

Former school administrator gets 3 years

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The fate of a London man now lies in the hands of the Department of Corrections after his sentencing hearing on Friday.

Charles Douglas Phelps, 54, appeared in court on Friday afternoon for sentencing on charges of tampering with a witness and possession of material depicting a minor in a sexual performance. Phelps pled guilty to both charges on November 1 and was recommended to serve a two-year sentence for the child pornography charge and a one-year sentence for tampering with a witness. The two sentences will run consecutively, giving Phelps a total of three years.

After appearing in court with his attorneys Gary Crabtree and Conrad Cessna, Phelps was taken into custody and lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.

As part of the plea agreement Phelps entered on Nov. 1, he will register as a sexual offender for 20 years. He will also receive credit for serving 23 days in jail. His first opportunity for probation will be after he serves 20 percent of the three-year sentence, which averages to just over 7 months. However, with the credit for time already served in jail, Phelps should come up for a parole hearing in just over 6 1/2 months.

Where Phelps will serve his time is now in the hands of the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele said his office has no input or recommendations on where inmates serve their prison time.

Phelps, who was the former director of pupil personnel for the Laurel County School System, was suspended from his position in Nov. 2011 after allegations that he had exposed a 14- and a 17-year-old girl to sexual contact. He was also accused of providing alcohol to the 14-year-old.

Phelps was indicted on three counts of sexual abuse and two counts of unlawful transaction with a minor in Feb. 2012. He was no longer an employee of the school system after the indictment. However, the recanting of the 14-year-old victim resulted in the dismissal of four counts of the indictment but the sexual abuse charge involving the 17-year-old victim remained.

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