The Doug Phillips scandal isn't over.
The former leader Vision Forum, who resigned from his position after confessing to an "inappropriate" relationship is now being sued by Lourdes Torres who claims he "methodically groomed" and made unwanted sexual contact with her after serving as an authority figure in her life.
In the complaint filed in Kendall County District Court, Phillips is accused of using Torres, now 29, as "a personal sex object" over a period of five years.
The lawsuit states that Phillips forced Torres-Manteufel into engaging in a series of sexual encounters that nearly resulted in intercourse. Torres, who formerly worked as a nanny to Phillip's children and employee of Vision Forum Ministries, claims that their affair began when she was 21 and that Phillips promised to marry her and leveraged his status as her mentor and religious leader to continue the relationship for years after she stopped working for his family.
The lawsuit asserts that "Ms. Torres did not tell anyone about [Phillips'] conduct because he manipulated her into believing that it would ruin his reputation, destroy his ministry and get her in trouble with the church."
In response, Phillip's friend and attorney Jason Jakob, who represents Phillips and Vision Forum, Inc., issued a statement to WND which claims, "To date, a media campaign has been architected to destroy and demoralize Doug Phillips, his family and his message, without justification and instead with conjecture and disinformation."
He stated that the lawsuit is "false, defamatory and made with malicious intent to destroy Doug Phillips, his family and his ministry."
Doug Phillips was a leader in the Christian homeschool world and an advocate of "Biblical patriarchy," a belief which observes strict gender roles in which men have authority over women. Phillips acknowledged an extramarital relationship last fall when he stepped down as president of Vision Forum Ministries and resigned from Boerne Christian Assembly, where he served as an elder.
Torres expresses anxiety that Phillips will again contact her, stating that she's been forced to leave her home and many friends behind to seek refuge. She is now being counseled through her trauma.
Asked if she believes the same abuse could happen to another young lady in the patriarchy movement, Torres, responded, "Yes, definitely without question."
Following the Phillips scandal, the already controversial idea of Biblical patriarchy has experienced heightened scrutiny from the media.
Julie Ingersoll, professor of religious studies at the University of North Florida, wrote "A woman raised in Biblical Patriarchy is carefully sheltered, most especially to opportunities to develop any kind of self-sufficiency. If she finds herself with a houseful of children and a husband forced to admit publicly to unfaithfulness that extends over a long period of time, she has no options."
According to psychologist Ruth Mcnutt, Biblical patriarchy severely handicaps women.
"What Phillips essentially teaches is that women need to be entirely dependent on a man. Without a man, she is weak and incapable to care for herself. This gives the man complete dominion over the woman, which often leads to emotional and verbal abuse."
While Phillip's attorney claims that "This relationship occurred well after Mrs. Lourdes Torres-Manteufel reached the age of majority, as has been confirmed by Mrs. Torres-Manteufel to have begun at the close of 2007," Torres' attorney, David Gibbs paints a far darker picture.
"Because of Doug's position of trust, Lourdes had no ability to consent. When you look at the absolute control that that man had in her life, he was her pastor, he was her teacher, he was her employer, he was her patriarchal head of the home," Gibbs told WND, "In a sense, he was her counselor. Doug established the system where obedience to God required Lourdes to obey him and fully submit to whatever he wanted to do."
Torres says she hopes the lawsuit will inspire other girls in similar situations to seek freedom.
"I just know it's what the Lord wants," she says, "and I'm ready to move forward with it."