Ex-tribal officer pleads guilty in sex for freedom case

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PHOENIX -- A former Fort Mohave tribal police officer faces up to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from demands for sex that he made to a woman he arrested.

Michael Phelps admitted in a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix that he arrested the victim for a driving offense and threatened to jail her unless she had sex with him. He released her after she complied.

The 36-year-old resident of Needles, Calif. pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and to lying to FBI agents who investigated after the woman complained.

A U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman said the incident happened in November 2005 and Phelps was interviewed by the FBI nearly two years later. The charges were filed on Thursday when Phelps entered the plea.

The Fort Mohave Indian Reservation straddles the Colorado River in Arizona, Nevada and California.

Phelps will be sentenced on Dec. 15.

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