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April 16, 2014

Phelps denied shock probation

Former school administrator must continue to serve three-year sentence

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A Laurel man accused of sex-related offenses will continue to serve his three-year sentence after shock probation was denied.

The decision by Special Judge, Hon. Jeffrey T. Burdette, regarding shock probation for 54-year-old Charles Douglas Phelps, was rendered on April 8 and received late Thursday afternoon in Laurel Circuit Clerk’s office.

In the document, Burdette denied any shock probation for the former Laurel County School administrator, giving several reasons for his decision.

Burdette said although the indictments against Phelps of improper conduct with two teenage girls were dismissed, he was later charged with tampering with a witness and possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor while he was on bond from the indictment charges.

“Therefore he could not be managed in the community on bond...,” the document states. “It is further disappointing as this Court does consider, in significant part, whether the defendant has exhibited behavior consistent with being appropriate for management in community on probation. He proved he cannot.”

Burdette goes on to state that Phelps “squandered his second chance while on bond,” adding that his actions made a difficult decision easier.

“This defendant’s good family has already been shaken and adversely affected, but guarding against other families’ potential hurt must also be part of the Court’s consideration,” his statement read.

Phelps, he said, has “earned service of his sentence by not only his criminal behavior and admitted guilt, but by his behavior on bond, notwithstanding his agreeing to accept the sentence at the time of the  plea.

“The Court has considered a split sentence, as well as outright shock probation on terms. The seriousness of the crime and the risk of reoffending outweigh a decision in either regard,” Burdette wrote. “This defendant needs correctional treatment best afforded by serving a sentence as agreed to. Further, to probate would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offenses. The parole board has denied the defendant early release and this Court must now deny shock probation.”

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