Macomb County pilot pleads no contest to being in sexual relationship with teen

A Harrison Township pilot, currently serving a federal sentence for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old he was giving flying lessons to, pleaded no contest to local charges accusing him of initiating a sexual relationship with her.

Rex Phelps, 72, received two years in prison in March for sexually assaulting the teenager while on an airplane, in the air. 

He was charged in 2023 for having a sexual relationship with the victim at the Ray Community Airport.

On Monday, Phelps pleaded no contest to accosting a minor, which is a four-year felony, and two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, which are two-year high-court misdemeanors, announced the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office. 

Phelps is set to be sentenced in Macomb County Circuit Court on July 24.

"It is my duty to uphold the law and protect our community's most vulnerable members. A 15-year-old girl is legally incapable of giving consent to a sexual relationship with an adult. This is a violation of her rights and a serious breach of trust. Our office will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law to ensure the safety and well-being of all minors in our county," said Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido said in a news release.


Harrison Township man who sexually assaulted teen while giving her flying lessons sentenced

At one point, the 72-year-old kissed the victim which sent the plane he was piloting off course.