HomeNewsFormer educator and minister charged with sex crimes against minors

Former educator and minister charged with sex crimes against minors

By Victor Parkins

Milan Mirror-Exchange

Special to The Post

A former educator and minister has been charged with serious sex crimes against minors.

Philip Stephen Plyler, 41, was arrested on April 15 by Milan Police after he was extradited from West Virginia to face charges in Gibson County.  

Plyler is facing two charges of Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure and two charges of Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure from cases stemming back to 2017.

Milan Investigator Dennis Mitchell interviewed two alleged victims in January of 2024.  One of the victims was a student in Plyler’s math class at Medina Middle School.  Shortly after she turned 16, she alleges that Plyler, who was 34 at the time, asked her to deliver an item to his home in Milan between July 24 and Aug. 22, 2017.  When she entered his home, she understood that Plyler’s wife and children were there.  Once inside however, she found herself alone with Plyler.  According to reports, Plyler forced her into his bedroom and onto his bed where he assaulted her.  At some point during the assault, the juvenile was able to get away from Plyler and leave the house. 

Another victim told Investigator Mitchell that she was allegedly raped by Plyler in the spring of 2015 when she was 13 and he was 32.  She was also a student of his at Medina Middle School.  The victim claims that she was assaulted three times by Plyler, but only one of them was in the jurisdiction of Milan Police Department.  She told police that she arrived at the home to babysit for Plyler and his wife, but when she entered the home, he was alone and raped her.

Both victims told Investigator Mitchell they did not tell anyone about Plyler’s advances towards them at the time because of his status as a teacher and coach.  Both victims also believed they were the only ones that Plyler was having relationships with.  One of the victims told Mitchell that she decided to come forward after reading a report on social media about Plyler allegedly assaulting another underage girl.

In April of 2022, Plyler was suspended from Northeast Middle School in Jackson for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. 

In 2023, through an open records request, The Jackson Post obtained documents from the school system’s investigation, including the personnel file, search warrant, timeline of events, and a detailed investigation by the school system. 

The investigation by JMCSS shows over the course of several weeks, a female student in 8th grade spent an alarming amount of time in Plyler’s classroom during the school day.   The report says Plyler and the student exchanged cell phone numbers and communicated outside of school.   On April 14, 2022, the report states that the girl ran out of Plyler’s classroom after he tried to kiss her.

In an interview with JMCSS administration, Plyler later admitted that he asked the student for a kiss, according to the report. 

Plyler was suspended from the JMCSS on April 27.  He resigned June 6. 

The parents of the student filed a report with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department but no charges were ever filed.

Plyler will appear in Milan City Court on April 24 at 9 a.m.  He is being held in the Gibson County Jail on a $100,000 bond.  

Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers said the case is tragic and he doesn’t want to see this happen to any other child.

“If anyone has information about these two cases or any others, please contact myself or Investigator Mitchell at 731-686-3309,” Sellers said.  Plyler taught at Milan Middle School from 2005-’07 and at Humboldt Middle School from 2008-’11.  He taught at Medina Middle School from 2012-’16 and at Jackson Madison County from 2017-22.  He also was the Youth Director at Main Street Church of Christ in Milan and a Minister at Atwood Church of Christ.

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