Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family Files Lawsuit, Alleges Sexual Misconduct

Posted by Christine Pack

Beall Phillips, Lourdes Torres, Doug Phillips
World Net Daily is reporting that Vision Forum's former president, Doug Phillips, has been named in a lawsuit by Lourdes Torres, a young woman who worked as a nanny for the Phillips' family beginning at the age of 15. Torres has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that Phillips committed "inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts" against her while she worked and lived in the Phillips' home and tended to his children. The lawsuit was filed in Kendall County (Texas) Tuesday, April 15, 2014, and can be read here (Warning: Explicit content). However, according to Diaz Jakob, the attorney representing Doug Phillips, the relationship between Phillips and Torres was "consensual," and was "initiated, encouraged, and aggressively perpetuated by (Torres)." The statement released by Phillips also makes a point of noting that the contact between Phillips and Torres did not begin until Torres had reached the age of 23. While it has been confirmed by Torres' that physical contact did not begin until she had reached the age of 23, Torres had known and worked for Phillips from the age of 15. (Torres' family first met the Phillips family at a Vision Forum homeschooling conference.) Also, in the Vision Forum worldview, it must be understood that hyper-patriarchalism was in full force, with girls being viewed as property to be passed from father to husband. Many girls and young women in this Vision Forum system appear mature and capable, and in many ways they are, having been trained from very young ages to look after entire households. They are also trained to unquestioningly serve and obey their fathers, as well as all other male authority figures in their lives. It is for these reasons that Phillips's claim of the relationship being "consensual" rings hollow to me. (Phillips' statement released through his lawyer can be read in its entirety here.)

We reported last October that Phillips had resigned as president of Vision Forum after citing a personal moral failure (that article can be read here). As noted in that article, Phillips has long been the face of a particular branch of Reformed Christianity which models very rigid and oppressively legalistic family structures (led by the "Federal Head," the husband), promotes the Quiverfull lifestyle, enforces strictly supervised courtship dating for youth, and also teaches a form of Dominionism (got to have lots of babies, you see, through embracing the "quiverfull" teachings, if you're going to have any shot at taking Dominion of the world). Unfortunately, with Doug Phillips' moral failure, we are seeing yet more proof that Christian environments that have systematically built oppressive legalism into their structure are not safeguarded against sin. The law does not, and never has had, the ability to protect us against sin or sanctify us, and thinking so only leads to legalism, spiritual oppression and sin abounding all the more. Thus, systematizing legalism into entire movements (like Quiverfull, hyper-patriarchalism, Dominionism, Bill Gothard's ATI/IBLP systems, the Shepherding Movement, etc., etc. ) is no guarantee or insulator against sin, which is the great leveler of us all.
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." (Romans 3:20) 
"We maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." (Romans 3:20) 
"For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death." (Romans 7:5)
Pastor Jeff Crippen of Christ Reformation Church in Oregon addressed this issue of legalism in a recent sermon, specifically naming Vision Forum as a legalistic and problematic movement:
"I think that Doug Phillips and Vision Forum have been proponents of a very legalistic, so called gospel, and it's not surprising then that sin is incited, because we know from scripture that the Law is the power of sin. And if you're gonna pursue rightness with God by the Law, well look out, because it's just going to feed sin." (How God Saves Us in Christ, 11-3-13)  
Lourdes Torres, Doug Phillips
Vision Forum Ministries had created an entire cottage industry devoted to resources based on lawkeeping and rules-based behaviorism, all geared toward producing perfect children, perfect wives, perfect husbands, perfect homes, perfect marriages, etc. Before closing, Vision Forum Ministries produced and sold all manner of material dedicated to training their devotees in the proper Vision Forum lifestyle, including wholesome, family-friendly videos, some of which featured Doug Phillips, his children and Lourdes Torres. By all appearances, those who bought into the Vision Forum mindset thought that by adding extrabiblical instructions and rules to their lives, they could safeguard themselves against sin. Sanctification via a step-by-step methodology: Insert Slot A into Slot B....... Sadly, their leader's profound moral failure has revealed what a demonic deception legalism is.

Some of the allegations in Torres' lawsuit:
"Douglas Phillips—standing in a position of influence and prominence within patriarchy—methodically groomed Ms. Torres so that she would eventually participate in illicit sexual rendezvous with him promising that she could one day marry him. This grooming began when Ms. Torres was a fifteen-year-old child." 
"Phillips repeatedly told Torres that this was possible because his wife, Beall Phillips, was going to die soon." 
"Douglas Phillips, on the evenings he visited Ms. Torres' (bedroom while she was living in the Phillips home), persuaded her that he was not doing anything wrong, that he intended to marry Ms. Torres, and that his wife would die shortly and enable him to marry Ms. Torres. He further repeatedly told Ms. Torres that he loved her, that he would take care of her, and that what they were doing was not wrong. He also stated that if it was wrong, it was completely her fault." 
"Ms. Torres was unable to consent to the sexual contact and repeatedly asked Defendant Douglas Phillips to stop. However, Ms. Torres did not tell anyone about Defendant’s conduct because he manipulated her into believing that it would ruin his reputation, destroy his ministry, and get her in trouble with the church." 
"On or about January 2, 2013—after 12:00 midnight—when Ms. Torres had refused to be alone with Defendant Douglas Phillips for several weeks, had stopped assisting him with Vision Forum work projects, and was no longer communicating with Douglas Phillips, Douglas Phillips came over to Ms. Torres’s house around midnight and began knocking on her bedroom window. Ms. Torres’s family heard the noise and Ms. Torres’s brother and father went outside and chased Douglas Phillips without knowing it was him. When they caught him Defendant stated he had come to “pay” Ms. Torres for her Vision Forum work. Ms. Torres’s father told Defendant Douglas Phillips to leave and he left." 
"On October 3, 2013, Ms. Torres received an e-mail from Beall Phillips threatening her if she did not keep silent about what happened to her, i.e., her abuse."

 Additional Resources 

Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice

Copy of Filed Lawsuit (Warning: Explicit sexual content)

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Hall of Shame: Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Mennoknight)

Rethinking Vision Forum

Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object" (World Net Daily)

Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object' (Right Wing Watch)

Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse (Slate)

Legal complaint filed in Vision Forum case (World Mag)

How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)

 Doug Phillips Responds 

Former minister denies allegations that he kept woman as a 'sex object'

Doug Phillips' statement released through is attorney, Jason Jakob