FORMER TEACHER GUILTY OF CHILD SEX CRIME IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY

A former Putnam County teacher has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor in Cumberland County.

A Cumberland County grand jury in June 2022 indicted 63-year-old Michael Joe Phillips of the Cumberland Cove area for sexual exploitation of a minor and aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.

Phillips retired from his position as a physical education teacher at Northeast Elementary School in Cookeville shortly before his arrest.

He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. It has a range of 2 to 12 years to serve in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Phillips will be required to register on the sex offender registry.

The second charge was dismissed.

A sentencing hearing for Phillips is scheduled for April 22, 2024.

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