Michigan flight club president charged with abusing minor on flights

The FBI is asking for the public’s help in identifying additional victims.
Rex Dale Phelps
Rex Dale Phelps(WILX)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 9:55 PM EDT
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DETROIT (WILX) - A 71-year-old man from Macomb County was charged March 6 with abusive sexual contact in an aircraft.

Rex Dale Phelps is accused of having sexual contact on multiple occasions with a 15-year-old girl while they were on an aircraft. He is the President of a flight club at the Ray Community Airport in Ray Township. Police said Phelps is facing other charges related to conduct that reportedly happened before and after the flights.

The FBI is asking for the public’s help in identifying additional victims.

According to an affidavit, the investigation began when Michigan State Police received a tip that Phelps was engaged in sexual contact with a minor. The complaint reportedly said they had received a text message from Phelps with several pictures, one of which was a screen capture of a text conversation and a minor girl.

The minor’s parents were interviewed by Michigan State Police and the girl reportedly provided a written statement that said Phelps had flown her to locations across Michigan. She claimed Phelps kissed her, exposed and grabbed her breasts and frequently asked her about sexual activities.

The affidavit said she claimed Phelps instructed her to delete her text messages so no one could read them. He allegedly told her repeatedly “I hope I’m not grooming you.”

The document said the girl told investigators on March 1 that Phelps touched her genitals over her clothes. In a deleted text recovered, Phelps reportedly told her to “stick to the story.”

A search warrant was executed March 1 on Phelps’ home and airplane hanger. The affidavit said Phelps stated he had touched the girl’s inner thigh but denied touching her vagina over clothes and that he planned to have sex with her when she turned 16.

Federal investigators are seeking the public’s help to identify other potential victims. Anyone who believes they or someone they know may be a victim or has information about potential abusive sexual contact involving Phelps is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or to submit a tip online.

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