Ripon man sentenced for sexually assaulting children

Fond du Lac County Jail photo

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - A 58-year-old Ripon man was given essentially a life sentence for repeatedly sexually and physically abusing children.

Terry Lee Phelps initially faced 43 criminal charges. He pleaded to six of them and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, followed by 13 years of state extended supervision.

A criminal complaint says Phelps had at least six victims and describes gradual exposure by Phelps that began when the girls were as young as 5 years old.

Phelps knew the girls' parents and would spank the girls, sometimes with a belt or long metal cooking spoon. Some said he exposed himself to them or made them watch porn with him.

The complaint says after the first victim reported the abuse to her parents, saying it started when she was 9 years old, Phelps left the state for Tennessee but eventually moved back.

Phelps pleaded no contest or entered an Alford plea to six charges of repeated sexual assault of a child, repeated acts of causing bodily harm, and intentionally causing harm to a child. The other 37 charges were dismissed but read into his record. An Alford plea is when a defendant doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have strong enough evidence to get a conviction.