Jul. 19—A former South Laurel High School choral director pleaded guilty to sex offenses on Thursday and will serve the maximum sentence for sex offenses against minor age teens, if the recommended sentence is followed.
Mark A. Felts, 56, of Brandon Drive in Corbin, appeared in Laurel Circuit Court on Thursday, at which time he entered guilty pleas to one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree sodomy. He was recommended to serve 5 years on each count, but the two sentences will run concurrently — giving Felts a total of 5 years.
As part of the plea agreement, Felts will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
Felts entered a guilty plea to first-degree sexual abuse that involved a child just a month shy of his 15th birthday, according to the indictment that was issued against Felts in October 2019. He had been previously indicted for third-degree sodomy, but when another victim came forward, that indictment was superseded by a seven-count indictment charging Felts with six counts of sexual abuse and one count of sodomy. The sexual abuse incidents took place in March 2015, November 2015, January and October 2016 and on two occasions in February 2017. The sodomy charge involved another youth who was under 18 and occurred in spring 2017, according to the indictment. The indictment states that Felts was "a person in a position of authority or position of special trust" when the sexual acts took place.
The penalty for first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree sodomy is one to five years on each charge, with Felts agreeing to the highest penalty of five years. The plea agreement, however, allows him to serve the two sentences concurrently, or at the same time, for a total of five years. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15 in Laurel Circuit Court.
Felts had served as the choral director at SLHS for many years but abruptly retired just a few weeks before the 2018 school year ended.