, Corbin, KY

Local News

May 20, 2013

Tentative court date set for former school director


By John L. Ross, Staff Writer

A tentative court date has been set in the case against former Laurel County Schools director of pupil personnel Charles Douglas Phelps.

Phelps, 54, appeared before Judge Tom Jensen in Laurel County Circuit Court Friday with his attorney, William G. Crabtree, and learned he may face trial Oct. 8.

Phelps faced several charges involving two minor girls, but now only faces charges in reference to the older of those alleged victims.

Phelps was suspended from his position with the school system in November 2011 after an investigation by the Kentucky State Police. Phelps allegedly exposed a 14-year-old girl to sexual contact on two occasions in November 2011.

On a separate charge, Phelps is also accused of exposing a 17-year-old to sexual contact on Nov. 5, 2011.

The four charges involving the 14-year-old were dismissed in February.

During that appearance, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele made the motion to dismiss those charges. In his motion to dismiss, Steele said: “(The witness) was brought to my office for trial preparation on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 and again Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at which time she reviewed her previous statements and the phone conversation which had just been provided. At that time, (the witness) identified numerous statements in her prior interviews that were incorrect.”  He noted in his motion there was also no DNA evidence against Phelps.

On Friday, Crabtree discussed two cases pending in the state’s Supreme Court, one of which he said is somewhat similar to Phelps’ case.

He said he felt “the redocket (of this case) was premature,” as the outcome of Phelps’ case may hinge on what is decided in the unrelated state cases.

Crabtree agreed to the October court date, contingent that the supreme court hands down its decisions on the other two cases.

A final pretrial conference was scheduled for Oct. 3.

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