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Sussex Countian
  • County Councilman invokes Fifth Amendment in sex abuse lawsuit

  • Vance Phillips, the Sussex County councilman being sued by a Lincoln woman for sexual assault, has filed a response to the allegations.
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  • Vance Phillips, the Sussex County councilman being sued by a Lincoln woman for sexual assault, has filed a response to the allegations.
    In the answer, filed July 15 in Kent County Superior Court by attorney Kurt Heyman, 50-year-old Phillips invoked the Fifth Amendment, citing his right against self-incrimination, based on the uncertainty of whether criminal charges will be filed against him.
    The answer states that the plaintiff, 20-year-old Katelynn Dunlap, has “unfortunately chosen to litigate this matter in the media. In a recent interview she announced that she remains in contact with the Delaware State Attorney General’s Office and that a criminal investigation into the allegations of her complaint is ongoing. Defendant has, to date, been unable to confirm whether that is the case. Regrettably, Defendant will therefore be asserting Fifth Amendment protections in response to a number of allegations of the complaint.”
    Phillips cited the Fifth Amendment 31 times in the answer, refusing to respond to the allegations of rape, assault, unlawful sexual contact, sexual harassment, unlawful imprisonment, sexual extortion and offensive touching, in incidents that allegedly occurred between May and July 2011.
    The complaint was filed May 6 by Dunlap’s attorney, Nicholas H. Rodriguez, of Schmittinger & Rodriguez in Dover.
    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, although Dunlap claims the incidents did not begin until after her 18th birthday. No criminal charges were ever filed.
    Sgt. Paul Shavack of the DSP said troopers completed a thorough and comprehensive investigation into those allegations.
    “We turned those findings over to the Attorney General’s office for review, and there were no charges filed,” Shavack said. “If any other new evidence was brought to our attention, we would review that evidence; but as far as this investigation is concerned, we’ve completed it.”
    Jason Miller, a spokesman for the AG’s office, gave a similar statement.
    “Prosecutors thoroughly reviewed the state police investigation and determined that no criminal prosecution could occur at this time,” Miller said. “We will review any new evidence that may be brought to us in the future.”
    Dunlap’s attorneys are seeking that new evidence, as court records show they have subpoenaed several parties for documents pertaining to Phillips.
    The Delaware State Police, the Laurel Police Department, and the Department of Justice are subpoenaed for all records pertaining to not only the investigation involving Dunlap, but all past investigations into Phillips.
    Former Republican congressional candidate Glen Urquhart is subpoenaed for “any and all records, reports, correspondences, notes, letters, journal entries, or other such writings or recorded collections in your custody authored by, provided you by, or concerning Vance C. Phillips.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Dunlap and Phillips reportedly worked together during Urquhart’s campaign.

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