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Sussex Countian
  • Sexual assault lawsuit filed against Sussex County councilman

  • A 20-year-old Lincoln woman is suing Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips, claiming he repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted her over a two-month period in 2011.
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  • A 20-year-old Lincoln woman is suing Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips, claiming he repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted her over a two-month period in 2011.
    The lawsuit was filed on May 6 in Kent County Superior Court by the woman's attorney, Nicholas H. Rodriguez of Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A. in Dover.
    The complaint states the woman began working with Phillips on local political campaigns when she was 16. The assaults allegedly began in May 2011, about one month after the woman turned 18. The very detailed complaint alleges Phillips sexually assaulted the woman several times, forcing upon her fetishes that run the gamut from sex toys to bondage.
    Phillips, 50, said on Monday that he has not received a copy of the complaint, and his attorney has advised him not to directly address the matter with the media.
    "It's a very bad situation," said Phillips, who was elected to the council in 1998. "I am looking forward to the truth coming out."
    Phillips said he's got a long legal process ahead of him, and he plans to stay focused on public service, his farm, and an upcoming spinal cord surgery. Phillips was seriously hurt in a single-engine plane crash on Oct. 30, 2011, just months after the alleged assaults occurred.
    Phillips' attorney, Joe Hurley of Wilmington, likened the contents of the complaint to the popular novel "50 Shades of Grey," and said the detailed account is a blatant attempt to pollute the objectivity of a potential jury pool.
    Hurley said he was approached by Rodriguez in an attempt to negotiate a settlement.
    "The opposing attorney opened the door of negotiations, which was slammed immediately," he said. "I told him to serve."
    Hurley said he's yet to be served the lawsuit, and once that happens, Phillips will have 20 days to file a legal response.
    The Associated Press reported on May 10 that the Delaware State Police investigated Phillips last year after members of the General Assembly received an anonymous letter claiming he was involved in a relationship with an underage girl. No criminal charges were filed and the investigation is reportedly complete.
    Also in late 2011, Phillips was involved in an altercation with Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher. Prosecutors did not file charges, and Phillips issued an apology, acknowledging that "unchecked passions can be very dangerous."
    The sexual assault complaint states the first alleged assault occurred on May 9, 2011, starting in the parking lot of a dentist's office on U.S. Route 113 in Georgetown, where the woman met Phillips so he could give her some envelopes from a fundraiser. The woman claims Phillips began assaulting her, and allegedly tried to have sexual intercourse with her against a building and in the front seat of his car.
    Page 2 of 2 - The complaint states Phillips allegedly demanded the woman follow him to another location near Wal-Mart, threatening to "run her vehicle off the road if she did not obey him."
    The complaint states Phillips allegedly began having intercourse with the woman before she was able to fight him off.
    Following that incident, the woman claims she continued to meet Phillips because of "physical fear and emotional fear on what Defendant [sic] would do if she did not obey his commands."
    The complaint states Phillips allegedly sexually assaulted the woman three times at his farm in Laurel, once in an outdoor area on Bennetts Pier Road near Milford, and twice at the Super 8 Motel in Dover. The complaint states Phillips also made the woman meet him an additional four times, once at the Greenwood Motel in Greenwood where she allegedly fought him off, once again at the Super 8 where he allegedly apologized and bought her pizza, and twice at her unspecified college, where she claimed to have met him in public places so he couldn't hurt her.
    The complaint also states Phillips allegedly told the woman he wanted her to produce a son for him, and he wanted to send her to "a country south of Africa where she would be taken care of."
    The complaint does not specify how much money the woman is seeking, but states she's suffered "severe and serious physical, mental and emotional injuries," has incurred "expenses for medical, psychological and emotional treatment," her reputation "has been marred by the unlawful acts of Defendant [sic]," and her "educational achievements and plans for her career in business and politics have been severely damaged."

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