A former Kentucky teacher's aide has admitted to having sexual contact with teenage boys, and has pleaded guilty in federal court over the offense.
Ellen Phillips, 39, formerly known as Ellen Shell, pleaded guilty in federal court in Lexington on Friday to a charge of attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual conduct, according to court records.
Phillips Admitted to Engaging in Sexual Acts with Multiple Minors at the Same Time
As reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Phillips, of Danville, faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years but could get life in prison. Before her arrest, Phillips worked as a teacher's aide at Woodlawn Elementary School in Danville. Before that, she worked at Lancaster Elementary School in Garrard County.
Phillips acknowledged in her plea agreement that she communicated with teen boys by way of Snapchat, Facebook or text messages, and in many instances met them for sexual activity. The boys generally ranged from 14 to 16 years old, the plea agreement said. On some occasions, Phillips engaged in sexual activity with multiple minors at the same time, the plea document said.
Philips Messaged Victim Excuses He Could Give His Mom to Sneak Out, Tried to Persuade Him with Alcohol and Oral Sex
The plea agreement cited a particular case in December 2022 in which Phillips tried to persuade a 15-year-old boy to take part in sexual activity. Phillips messaged the victim through Facebook and repeatedly tried to get him to sneak out of his house and meet her, the plea document said.
When the teen said he couldn't get out because his mother was awake, Phillips offered him alcohol and oral sex and provided excuses he could give his mother to explain why he was leaving, according to the plea. The boy ultimately told Phillips he couldn't meet her that night.
Phillips, a former aide in Boyle County, was initially charged in state court. She faces charges of multiple charges of third-degree sodomy and third-degree rape in Boyle, Garrard and Rockcastle counties, according to state court records.
State prosecutors will consider dropping charges as a result of Phillips pleading guilty in federal court, according to her plea. Her sentencing has been scheduled for April.