Lawsuit Alleges San Antonio Religious-Right Leader Treated Young Follower Like a ‘Personal Sex Object’

In November we told you that Doug Phillips had acknowledged engaging in an extramarital affair and stepped down from his position as head of a San Antonio-based religious-right organization called Vision Forum. Now a lawsuit alleges that Phillips engaged in ““inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts” with a girl he had groomed as a “personal sex object” from the age of 15.

If true, the lawsuit’s allegations would be a bombshell for a man with a history of making incendiary statements about the morals of others. In 2009, for example, he mocked an abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered in his own church, by calling him “Tiller the Killer” and saying his death wasn’t a tragedy. He has also complained about the “intellectual and moral bankruptcy” of people who accept the science of evolution and see no conflict between science and faith.

Our friends at Right Wing Watch have a detailed report on the lawsuit here. (Warning: Some of the language in the lawsuit is graphic.) Excerpts from their post:

The lawsuit, which includes counts of sexual battery and assault, details the “inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts committed by Douglas Phillips against Ms. Torres,” noting that Phillips “methodically groomed Ms. Torres” since she was 15 years old “so that she would eventually participate in illicit sexual rendezvous with him promising that she could one day marry him” and “repeatedly told Torres that this was possible because his wife, Beall Phillips, was going to die soon.”

The lawsuit contends that Phillips worked to “indoctrinate [Torres] with the patriarchal mindset” and “subtly began to manipulate Ms. Torres, so that he could use her for his sexual gratification. This calculated, planned, and methodical grooming process went on for many years.”

“Douglas Phillips used Ms. Torres—against her wishes and over her objections—as a personal sex object. Douglas Phillips repeatedly groped, rubbed, and touched Ms. Torres’s crotch, breasts, and other areas of her body; rubbed his penis on her; masturbated on her; forced her to watch him masturbate on her; and ejaculated upon her. This perverse and offensive conduct repeatedly took place over the course of several years,” the lawsuit reads.

Torres’ lawyers write that even after Vision Forum’s board was informed of Phillips’ alleged actions, “the board of Vision Forum Ministries decided to keep Phillips in the company’s highest position of leadership. This move is consistent with the ideals and beliefs of the patriarchal movement: that women exist solely for the control and pleasure of the men.” The board only took action when it became “apparent that Phillips’s behavior toward Ms. Torres could no longer remain confidential.”

The lawsuit also goes into detail on the ways the Quiverfull movement manipulates and shames women, imposing “absolute control of women” while cutting them off from “access to outside intervention and support.” It alleges that Phillips’ wife sent Torres a threatening email in an attempt to silence her.

Vision Forum has shut down since Phillips stepped down last fall.

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