Ex-educator could face up to eight years

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - An educator in both Bullitt and Nelson counties has admitted his guilty to rape and sodomy charges dating back to 1993.

Larry Brent Childress, 41, of Pioneer Village, entered the plea Thursday morning in Bullitt Circuit Court.

Childress was indicted last fall for rape and sodomy. Two of the charges were dismissed and two others were amended.

Childress could face up to eight years in prison.

According to the plea agreement between special prosecutor Todd Lewis of the state attorney general's office and defense attorney Joseph Wantland, Childress could ask for probation at the May 21 final sentencing. Lewis said he would not oppose the probation but would ask that the defendant serve at least 120 days in the county jail.

As the victim looked on, Childress admitted that he knew that she was under 16 years of age at the time of their sexual encounter in 1993; however, the then-assistant coach at North Bullitt High did not know she was under 14.

The allegations occurred from 1993 until 1995 in Bullitt, Jefferson and Fayette counties.

"I take full responsibility for this," Childress told Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress. "I didn't react the way I should have."

Childress, who was an ISAP instructor at Hebron Middle at the time, said when advances were made by both parties, he did not act properly.

"I wish I was the Christian then that I am now," said Childress.

During questioning by Lewis, Childress admitted the encounters, including ones in Jefferson County and in Fayette County during a basketball tournament.

He denied making any videotapes, which Lewis said could be a problem for the defendant, although he would not comment further on that issue following the hearing.

"I'm truly sorry," Childress said to the victim.

Lewis said in many conversations with the victim and the investigating officer from the Kentucky State Police, all parties accept the proposed agreement.

During the May 21 final sentencing, the victim would be given an opportunity to present testimony. She would also be allowed to file a victim's impact statement.

Wantland did not wish to comment following the hearing.

Lewis said the agreement takes into account many factors, including the victim's desire to settle the issue and move forward.

Instead of making a recommendation on probation, Lewis said it is the belief of the attorney general's office that local judges are in a better position to make that decision.

He said the office did not want to further harm a victim who is already having to relieve the incidents by coming forward.

"She was very happy to get it over with," said Lewis.

He felt that the victim talked about the decision with her family and she was ready to get the matter settled.

Since the offense occurred in the early 1990s, Lewis said the court must deal with penalties that were in place at the time. Sexual offenses today carry much stiffer penalties.

A native Bullitt Countian, Childress spent 15 years as a coach of various sports, including serving as head baseball coach, at North Bullitt High.

No complaints were filed against Childress during his tenure.

However, his contract was not renewed for the 2006-07 school year and he was hired by the Nelson County Public School System as an instructor at its Horizons alternative program. He was also hired as head baseball coach at Nelson County High School.

Following the November 2008 indictments, Childress was placed on unpaid suspension by Nelson County.

Childress remains free on bond awaiting the final sentencing.