A 71-year-old retired teacher in Michigan is in jail after being accused of criminal sexual conduct with a mentally disabled 15-year-old on his plane, and the FBI is seeking additional victims.
The complaint against the defendant alleges that on multiple occasions in early 2023, Phelps had sexual contact with a minor victim while they were aboard an aircraft. Phelps is facing additional state charges related to conduct alleged to have occurred before and after those flights.
Phelps, president of an aviation club that operated out of Ray Township Community Airport, is said to have engaged in a months-long physical relationship with the mentally challenged 15-year-old when he touched her on the inner leg in a sexual manner while flying and told her he wanted to marry her when she turned 16.
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Phelps reportedly planned to invite the girl to his house in May when his wife is out of town so the two could have sex.
Text messages between the two are said to have shown Phelps talking about showering with each other and other sexually suggestive content. The girl stated that Phelps had flown her to multiple locations around Michigan.
On one trip in January, the two flew to Frankenmuth, Michigan, where Phelps allegedly kissed her for the first time. Phelps is said to have exposed and fondled her breast on another trip in an airport hangar.
Phelps allegedly instructed the girl to delete text messages between them and told her to “stick to the story.”
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Phelps reportedly admitted to touching the minor’s inner thigh over clothes but denied claims he felt her vaginal area over her clothes.
Federal investigators seek the public’s help to identify additional potential victims of Rex Dale Phelps.
If you have any reason to believe you or someone you know may be a victim or have additional information about potential abusive sexual contact involving this defendant, please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov.
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