Trial date set for former SLHS choral director charged with sodomy, sex abuse of minors

Photo by Nita Johnson

Mark Felts appeared in court on Thursday where his jury trial date was set. 

A former South Laurel High School teacher charged with sexual offenses will have his day in court next month.

Mark A. Felts, 55, of Corbin appeared before Laurel Circuit Judge Michael Caperton on Thursday, at which time a jury trial was scheduled.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon Jones requested a trial date of April 7, with Caperton setting the final pretrial date for April 2 and setting the trial date for April 7 at 9 a.m. The final pretrial date allows Felts to enter a plea agreement if he accepts the offer made by the Commonwealth. Plea agreements include the defendant entering a guilty plea to lesser charges or fewer charges than those listed in an indictment. If no agreement can be made between the two sides, the case then proceeds for a jury trial.

Felts was initially indicted in August on one count of third-degree sodomy and posted $25,000 cash bond a few days later. But another claim of inappropriate sexual behavior was filed against the former high school choral director and the indictment was changed to include claims of two victims in October 2019.

That indictment now charges Felts with six counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of sodomy. The victim in the sex abuse case was just a few weeks from turning 15 years old when the incidents took place. The indictment lists those occasions as March and November of 2015, January and October 2016, and twice in February 2017.

The sodomy charge stems from the claim that Felts engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor child in the spring of 2017.

Both incidents occurred while Felts was "a person in a position of authority or position of special trust."

Felts retired at the end of February 2019 after serving as SLHS choral director for many years and ending a 29-year teaching career. Under his direction, the school's choral program received numerous recognitions, as did Felts.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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