, Corbin, KY

Local News

November 18, 2013

School director receives sentence

Faced charges of bribing, possessing material portraying sexual performance by a minor

CORBIN — By John L. Ross

Staff Writer

Flanked by his attorneys, the former director of pupil personnel for Laurel County Schools dropped his head after hearing his sentence Friday in Laurel County Circuit Court.

Charles Douglas Phelps, 54, arrived for court dressed in a suit and tie with his mother and a family friend.

Phelps was slated for a sentencing hearing Friday afternoon — he faced charges of bribing a witness, tampering with a witness and possession of material portraying a sexual performance by a minor, and entered into a plea agreement.

A status hearing on a separate but related case was slated for the morning session, but that was cancelled. In that case, Phelps faced a charge of first-degree sexual abuse after allegedly exposing a 17-year-old female victim to sexual contact.

Phelps did face several charges earlier this year involving allegations of sexual contact with the 17 year old and a 14-year-old victim — however, in February, the Commonwealth Attorney’s office learned the 14-year-old’s statements were “inaccurate” and “inconsistent,” which forced the office to request those charges be dismissed.

However, the charge involving the 17 year old stood and was slated for trial Oct. 8. However, on that date the victim failed to appear for court — it was learned Phelps allegedly contacted that victim more than 500 times — which left the judge that day, Tom Jensen, to remind Phelps and his attorneys about the no-contact conditions placed on him by the court.

At that time Phelps was on home incarceration, records show. Phelps was arrested by the London Police Department the next day and jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center.

He remained jailed until Oct. 31, when he was released from custody — JailTracker records do not indicate what bond he posted to get out of jail.

Which then led to his appearance Friday.

Although his case was listed on the docket as the last to be heard — Phelps’ hearing was called before Circuit Judge Henry Johnson first during the afternoon session.

Phelps, with his attorneys Gary Crabtree and Conrad Cessna, approached the podium for the hearing to begin.

Crabtree opened up the hearing with a request to allow Phelps to be sentenced to probation.

Crabtree first began by sharing with the court some of what he called Phelps’ “strengths,” including a close family relationship, adding that his mother was there in support of her son. Phelps is one of seven children, three of whom Crabtree said work for the Kentucky State Police Department. Phelps himself has two daughters and a grandchild, according to Crabtree.

“He (also) has no prior criminal record (and) no arrests,” Crabtree said. “That (too) is a strength.”

The attorney told the court Phelps also earned his Master’s degree. “He has a long history of steady employment,” Crabtree said. “If (he is) probated (he) will continue to have employment.”

He added that Phelps’ was involved with the community. “Phelps has an unusual commitment to community service in this county,” Crabtree said, adding that he has been involved with the Laurel County Fair and fairgrounds from 1978 through 2011.

Crabtree also said that Phelps had been involved in the United Way charity in one form or another for 30 years, and had been involved in other community groups.

“I understand the victim does not want to testify against him,” Crabtree said.

He added that the victim sent messages through a cell phone to Phelps. “Those photos (of the victim) were unsolicited (by Phelps),” Crabtree said, adding they were saved to the cell phone’s picture gallery.

The attorney further added that after a search was conducted on his home after the first set of allegations came out, nothing criminal was found on confiscated items, which were returned to Phelps.

Crabtree said that everything he said concerning Phelps was “offered as mitigation” when it came to sentencing. “I’m asking the court to consider (probation),” he said. “(It) is in the community’s interest, the public’s interest and Phelps’ and his family’s interest that he be sentenced to probation.”

But Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele felt otherwise.

“I’m not going to argue about his commitment to the community,” Steele said, but added that some of his community involvement came from his position with Laurel County Schools.

Steele explained Phelps’ responsibilities in his job included assisting truant, troubled students — such as the 14-year-old alleged victim. “The child is supposed to get back on track,” Steele said. “Both (alleged victims) were such troubled kids.”

Recidivism — the chance that a convicted criminal would repeat the offense — also was discussed by Steele.

He said that the recidivism rate mentioned by Crabtree was one year — but the case “is about two years old.”

“(He was still involved) with his previous case when he was charged with (these) new offenses,” Steele said, and noted his objection to granting Phelps probation.

And Judge Johnson agreed.

“All of us are a mix of good and bad,” Johnson said. “It certainly is a credit (for) what good things you’ve done — but it doesn’t change the nature of those offenses.”

With that, Johnson sentenced Phelps to three years in prison — two years for tampering with a witness, and one year for the possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

Those will be served consecutively.

The charge of first-degree sexual abuse against the 17-year-old female was dismissed, as was the bribing a witness charge, as per the plea agreement.

Phelps was remanded from the courtroom to the Laurel County Correctional Center, and from there will be transported to the state’s Correctional Cabinet. The Cabinet will determine where Phelps will serve his sentence.

Text Only
Local News
  • TODAY'S HEADLINES — July 30, 2014

    18 arrested in drug roundup

    Suspect wanted for assault

    Laurel service station robbed

    Arrest warrant issued for 1 of 2 charged in I-75 multi-vehicle crashes

    Corbin Board of Education approves improvement plan for St. Camillus site

    July 30, 2014

  • I-75 lane closures Wednesday

    A reminder if you’ll be traveling on I-75 in Laurel County Wednesday — the state Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) plans to restrict northbound and southbound traffic to one lane just north of exit 29.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0729 John Waite for web.jpg John Waite to perform at NIBROC

    Grammy nominated singer John Waite has joined the 2014 NIBROC musical lineup.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0729 gray crash for web.jpg U.S. 25E intersection site of Monday crash

    A woman was transported to Baptist Health Corbin Monday following a crash at the U.S. 25E and KY-233 intersection, according to Kentucky State Police Post 10 Public Information Officer Shane Jacobs.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Laurel School nurses to stay

    The Laurel County School System will keep its school nurses for the 2014-2015 school year.

    July 29, 2014

  • POLICE ROUNDUP: Driver leaves scene of wrecks

    A man admitted to police Saturday that he was the driver in two hit and run accidents, according to London City Police Chief Derek House.

    July 29, 2014

  • London Tourism director up for the job

    Chris Robinson knows the challenges that his native town of London faces – and he’s ready to tackle them head on.

    July 29, 2014

  • Traffic signal to go up in Knox

    The U.S. 25E and KY-233 intersection will soon see the addition of a traffic signal, according to Kentucky Department of Transportation District 11 Public Information Officer Les Dixon.

    July 29, 2014

  • TODAY'S HEADLINES — July 29, 2014

    John Waite to perform at NIBROC

    Traffic signal to go up in Knox

    U.S. 25E intersection site of Monday crash

    Laurel School nurses to stay

    July 29, 2014

  • Cannon man indicted for rape

    By John L. Ross
    Staff Writer
    A Cannon man facing first-degree rape and other charges has now been indicted in this case.

    July 28, 2014

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter