Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

child porn phone
MERRILL HOPE
Frenship, TX

A former teacher in west Texas pleaded guilty Wednesday before a federal judge on child porn charges.

Kandi Phillips appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge D. Gordon Bryant, Jr., in the northern district of Texas, where she pleaded guilty to one felony count of receipt of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Phillips, 30, taught high school English in the Frenship Independent School District until March when allegations surfaced she had inappropriate contact with a minor, a male student under the age of 18. Frenship High School officials questioned the teacher about this situation on March 3 whereupon she resigned from the Lubbock area school district later that afternoon.

In her resignation letter, Phillips admitted to improper email and text communications with the teen, although she said they never engaged in any sexual relations. KCBD reported that she wrote: “I was in contact on multiple occasions with [the name of the student was redacted] via email and text messages. The communication began last semester. Many of the text messages were personal, inappropriate, and led into talk of the sexual nature. Never once was there any inappropriate physical contact with the student at or off school grounds.”

Frenship ISD then released a statement indicating an unidentified teacher resigned but officials did not specify at which campus an incident may have occurred, only advising: “We hold our employees responsible for their public conduct even when they are not on active duty as district employees. Behavior that violates our standards is unacceptable.”

Subsequently, Phillips was charged with receiving a sexually explicit texted image from an underage male student. According to the plea documents, she began talking online with a 17-year-old student. While the conversations turned sexual, she maintained she never became physically intimate with the teenager. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that between December and February, the student sent Phillips a photo of his genitals. Phillips “knowingly” received the image that depicted “a male child under the age of 18…engaged in lascivious exhibition of his genitals and pubic area,” court documents revealed.

Later, records showed Phillips was under investigation over these purported behavior violations by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Educator Investigations unit, which examines reported allegations of teacher-student sexual misconduct.

In April, a federal grand jury indicted her on the one count of child pornography. At the time, she pleaded not guilty and remained free on bail with several conditions including she receive mental health counseling and specialized sex offender treatment, plus agreed to having no unsupervised contact with a child under 18 years old, including at school yards playgrounds, swimming pools, arcades, or any other places frequented by children, according to KLBK. The court also forbid Phillips from using a computer without permission from her probation officials.

Since her most recent court appearance, Phillips continues to remain out on bond until her sentencing before a U.S. District Judge. She may face anywhere from five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law to crack down on the state’s rampant eight-year wave of teacher sexual misconduct with students. Breitbart Texas reported the law imposes significant penal consequences for offending educators and also holds school administrators to account with fines and jail time should they look the other way and not report teacher transgressions to the TEA.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.

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