Former Boyle teachers aide pleads guilty to child sex charges

Published 10:55 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

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By Lance Gaither

On Jan. 12, Danville resident and former Boyle County teachers aide Ellen Phillips, formerly known as Ellen Shell, pleaded guilty to the charge of attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual conduct, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Phillips, 38, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison with the possibility of a life sentence,

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In her plea before Chief U.S. District Judge Danny Reeve in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Phillips admitted to numerous instances of using social media and electronic communications to entice teenage boys as young as 14 to meet her to engage in sexual activities. She further stated in her plea that at times she raped multiple children at the same time. In one instance in December 2022, she admitted that when a potential 15-year-old victim would not sneak out of his house to meet her as his mother was awake, she offered alcohol and oral sex if he met her and gave him excuses to use to explain to his mother why he was leaving.

Phillips was initially arrested in April 2023 by the Garrard County Sheriff’s Office and faces charges of third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy in Boyle, Rockcastle, and Garrard County, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. With her guilty plea to federal charges, the state is considered dropping their case. Her sentencing is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26.

Phillips was working as a teachers aide at Woodlawn Elementary School at the time of her arrest. Prior to that, she was a teachers aide for the Garrard County School system.

The investigation was conducted by the Danville Police Department, Garrard County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky State Police and Homeland Security.

Boyle County Schools declined to comment on the issue.