Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Lawsuit Informational Resource Page

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

This is an ongoing reference post following the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs. Douglas Phillips lawsuit. It includes key information on the case, court documents, background story, key individuals, links to news articles, etc.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Resource Page on the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel Lawsuit

Against Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, Inc., & Vision Forum Ministries

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

SECTIONS IN THIS POST

  • Preface
  • Key Facts
  • Official Court Documents and Other Statements
  • Plaintiff, Defendants, and Their Legal Counsels
  • Key Individuals in the Unfolding Story
  • Relevant Background Issues
  • Select Links to News Reports and Blog Posts
  • Historical Overview Posts
  • Potentially Relevant Legal Information
  • Other Research and Resource Pieces

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Preface

The initial compilation of information on this lawsuit was compiled on April 16-17, 2014, by brad/futuristguy, a blogger who periodically contributes to and comments on Spiritual Sounding Board. He has sought to be as accurate as possible in presenting this information. However, if you identify errors, additions, or information otherwise needing correction or clarification, please either post a comment in this thread or send an email with details to: SpiritualSB@gmail dot com. Concerns will be addressed as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Please note: This post is likely to be updated multiple times daily for at least the first 7 to 10 days after this story broke in the news on April 14, 2014. After that, it may be kept up periodically, or may just serve as an archive of initial responses to the story as it unfolded in that time period. That has yet to be determined.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Key Facts

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, a civil lawsuit was filed in Bexar County, Texas, on behalf of plaintiff Lourdes Torres-Manteufel. This civil suit names three defendants:

  • Douglas Phillips.
  • Vision Forum, Inc. (Mr. Phillips’ business enterprise).
  • Vision Forum Ministries, Inc. (the religious non-profit entity associated with Mr. Phillips).
Section VI of her Petition/Complaint lists nine “Causes of Action” in the suit:
  • Count 1 – Battery (Against Douglas Phillips)
  • Count 2 – Assault (Against Douglas Phillips)
  • Count 3 – Sexual Assault (Against Douglas Phillips)
  • Count 4 – Fraud (Against Douglas Phillips)
  • Count 5 – Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (Against Douglas Phillips)
  • Count 6 – Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (Against All Defendants)
  • Count 7 – Sexual Exploitation (Against All Defendants)
  • Count 8 – Negligent Supervision (Against Vision Forum Ministries and Vision Forum, Inc.)
  • Count 9 – Negligent Retention (Against Vision Forum Ministries and Vision Forum, Inc.)

The Petition/Complaint of Ms. Torres-Manteufel seeks damages in the highest category available there, of “over $1 million,” and she requests that this be a jury trial.

Trigger Warning – Be aware that this lawsuit involves numerous issues related to sexual abuse/assault. Official documents, news reports, and blog articles may contain graphic descriptions that you may find offensive and/or a trigger of memories/trauma.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Official Court Documents and Other Statements

BEXAR COUNTY COURT RECORD SITE

Bexar County, Texas, has an online system for accessing certain basic information about court cases. This includes names of plaintiffs and defendants, cause number (i.e., case number), which court will be used, court dates and case status, and documents filed. Here is how to access available details on Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Douglas Phillips et al – which is Cause Number 2014CI05999.

  1. Go to the site for the Bexar County County Clerk and District Clerk Court Record Search.
  2. Read the instructions, click on the terms and conditions of use link.
  3. After you click on Agree to terms of use, you are automatically returned to the main screen.
  4. Click the button for Cause Number and a drop-down box will appear.
  5. Copy and paste the following cause number into the drop-down box: 2014CI05999.
  6. Click on Search Case Records. A table of key information will appear on the screen.
  7. Click on the View Case button and that will take you to a Full Case Information screen with the most current compilation of Case History details available.

For instance, I accessed the site on April 18, 2014, at 07:21:58 AM and the Case History grid listed the three documents that have been filed so far: the Civil Case Information Sheet, the Plaintiff’s Original Petition, and the Jury Demand Jury Fee Paid.

KEY DOCUMENTS AND STATEMENTS

April 15, 2014. Petition filed in Bexar County, Texas, by plaintiff Lourdes Torres-Manteufel. This link is to a 30-page PDF of the official complaint plus cover sheet filed by the plaintiff’s counsel. It was posted by World Net Daily to accompany the WND news story of April 14, 2014, on the lawsuit. Note key details on the cover sheet, and the names of the attorneys for the plaintiff, their firm’s name, and official date of filing on the final page. Note: This PDF combines two official court documents noted on the Bexar County Court Record Site for this case as P00001 (Civil Case Information Sheet) and P00002 (Plaintiff’s Original Petition).

April 14, 2014. Response on the lawsuit/news article to World Net Daily from Jason Jakob, attorney for Douglas Phillips, Beall Phillips, and Vision Forum, Inc. This is a 2-page PDF response on behalf of two of the three defendants. It was posted by World Net Daily to accompany their WND news story of April 14, 2014, on the lawsuit.

April 17, 2014. April 17th Statement of the Vision Forum Ministries Board regarding alleged attempts to silence Ms. Torres about the relationship with Mr. Phillips (who resigned October 30, 2013).

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Plaintiff, Defendants, and Their Legal Counsels

ON THE PLAINTIFF’S SIDE

Mr. Gibbs is the attorney who completed the cover sheet for the plaintiff’s Petition. He is also associated with National Center for Life and Liberty (Flower Mound, TX).

NOTE: David C. Gibbs III, who is the attorney for Lourdes Torres-Manteufel is NOT the same person as David C. Gibbs, Jr., of the Christian Law Association, who served as attorney for Jack Schaap. Mr. Gibbs, Jr., is the father; Mr. Gibbs III is the son. Several online forums and other sources have not made the distinction between the two, and wrongly attributed the actions of the father in defending Mr. Schaap to his son.

Together We Overcome: Supporting Lourdes Torres-Manteufel is a Facebook page that was started on April 16, 2014, to encourage the plaintiff in her case and cause.

ON THE DEFENDANTS’ SIDE

  • Douglas Phillips. (Mr. Phillips was formerly the President of the board at Vision Forum Ministries.)
  • Vision Forum, Inc. (Mr. Phillips’ business enterprise, sometimes abbreviated as VFI).
  • Vision Forum Ministries, Inc. (the religious non-profit entity associated with Mr. Phillips, and sometimes abbreviated as VFM).
  • Jason J. Jakob of the firm Diaz Jakob Attorneys at Law (San Antonio, TX) is attorney for two defendants: Douglas Phillips and Vision Forum, Inc.
  • According to a commenter on this page, as of July 16, 2014, the representation for Vision Forum Ministries, Inc., is Kay Andrews from the Austin, TX, branch of the firm of Hawkins, Parnell, Thackston & Young. This Order to Substitute was approved by Judge Larry Noll and the prior representation which was withdrawn was Thomas C. Sanders, P.C. (Sugar Land, TX). [According to a source earlier in 2014, apparently Alan P. Dye of the firm Webster, Chamberlain and Bean, LLP (Washington, D.C.) also at one time may have been attorney for Vision Forum Ministries.]

Organizational websites:

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Key Individuals in the Unfolding Story

The names of the following individuals are likely to be seen in official documents, news reports and blog articles, and analysis of the lawsuit. They are listed here along with their main connection(s) to the case. Some are listed in more than one category because of their different ministry involvements and/or multiple roles played in the unfolding story. For key details on the roles and/or official positions (past and/or present) that some these people played, see Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 3 – The Timeline.

VISION FORUM, INC. (VFI)

Vision Forum, Inc., is described in an undated Manta online summary page as a “privately held company” in San Antonio, Texas. It was established in 1997, and at the time of the posting, functioned as a catalog and mail-order business with 20 to 49 employees and annual estimated revenue of from $5 to $10 million. From Manta, plus other sources that indicate some employees at VFI also served on the board for VFM (see links in the VFM Board section below), here is a compilation of some of the key individuals.

  • Douglas Phillips – Owner (and Director plus President/Treasurer at Vision Forum Ministries).
  • Don Hart – General Counsel at Vision Forum, Inc. (and Director at Vision Forum Ministries).
  • Josh Wean – Financial Executive (and CFO/COO at Vision Forum Ministries).
  • Tim Horn – Manager.

VISION FORUM MINISTRIES (VFM) BOARD

The officers and five board members for Vision Forum Ministries are listed here according to public information from 2012 on the required IRS Form 990 for Vision Forum Ministries, with the EIN [Employer Identification Number] 74-2984736. This was the most recent official board listing that I was able to locate online.

In terms of “interlocking directories” and a potential lack of independence, transparency, and accountability among main leaders for VFI and VFM, it is worth noting that:

BOERNE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY (BCA) – WARING, TEXAS

INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED IN PLAINTIFF’S PETITION

The plaintiff’s Petition, pages 8-9, paragraphs #30 and #31, lists examples of individuals and organizations that promote “biblical patriarchy” and/or the “quiverfull” movement. These philosophies are presented in the Petition as parts of the core system for subjugation of women and girls that conditioned and contributed to the abuse of Ms. Torres. Mentioned there are:

OTHERS RELEVANT TO THE UNFOLDING STORY

Most of the following individuals are mentioned in this historical overview post on Spiritual Sounding Board: Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 3 – The Timeline.

  • Voddie Baucham – friend of Mr. Phillips, and Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.
  • Peter Bradrick – former Executive Assistant to Mr. Phillips for Vision Forum.
  • Scott Brown – Director at Vision Forum Ministries. He is also Director for the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and elder at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
  • Don Hart – Director at Vision Forum Ministries, and general counsel at Vision Forum, Inc.
  • Jeff Horn – provisional elder at Boerne Christian Assembly in Waring, Texas.
  • Joe Morecraft – friend of Mr. Phillips, and pastor at Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in Cumming, Georgia.
  • Jordan Muela – former Vision Forum staff member.
  • Beall Phillips – wife of Douglas Phillips.
  • Douglas Phillips – Director and board President/Treasurer at Vision Forum Ministries.
  • Howard Phillips – father of Douglas Phillips; Director and board Vice President at Vision Forum Ministries.
  • Bob Renaud – former Vision Forum assistant.
  • Bob Sarratt – elder at Boerne Christian Assembly in Waring, Texas.
  • Lourdes Torres-Manteufel – the plaintiff in a lawsuit brought against Douglas Phillips; Vision Forum, Inc.; and Vision Forum Ministries.
  • Josh Wean – Chief Financial Officer at Vision Forum Ministries.
  • Mark Weaver – a friend of Mr. Phillips from college.
  • Jim Zes – Director and board Secretary at Vision Forum Ministries.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Relevant Background Issues

This case holds broader significance for the Church in America, in part because the theological profile of Vision Forum represents a highly influential mix of doctrinal beliefs, family and church social practices, and Christendom culture. As the charismatic public persona of Vision Forum, Douglas Phillips has represented and role-modeled the intersection of these multiple movements (and toxic faith problems) listed below.

  • The homeschool movement, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
  • Patriarchy as a manifestation of the complementarian gender movement.
  • Stay-at-home daughters (SAHD).
  • The Quiverfull Movement.
  • Family Integrated Church (FIC).
  • Dominion theology, the Seven Mountains Movement.
  • Authoritarianism, “psychological totalism,” and hierarchical leadership. (See the “Research and Resource” section.)
  • Clergy sexual abuse, sexual abuse in the Church, failure of clergy in mandatory reporting to legal authorities of known/suspected abuse.
  • Domestic abuse (spouse abuse) in Christian homes that is not being properly addressed by the Church.
  • Lack of transparent accountability in some Christian non-profits.
  • Spiritual abuse, malignant ministry leadership.
  • Misuse of church discipline, shunning, and other forms of social pressure to enforce silence; and spiritual coercion to “reconcile” as a tactic to preempt legitimate confrontation and conflict resolution.
  • “Total institutions.” (See the “Research and Resource” section.)

Such topics are addressed in numerous posts and comment threads here on Spiritual Sounding Board, and at many of the links you’ll find to articles on other websites (especially spiritual abuse survivor blogs). Check the Category list in the right-hand navigation bar for leads. For an overview of many of these key issues as directly relate to this situation, see: Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 1 – The Puzzle of Control, by Julie Anne Smith on March 16, 2014.

Because of the past organizational interconnectedness of many individuals, agencies, and movements with the ideas and/or ministry with Vision Forum, it is likely that report and analysis articles listed in the media section below will address such issues, and various high-profile individuals and organizations associated with them.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Select Links to News Reports and Blog Posts

The following list represents select links to online media. It is not intended to be comprehensive or complete. Not all national, international, or reposted/reblogged articles are included. It is intended to present a range of (1) in-depth report coverage, analysis, and commentary; (2) articles from a Christian perspective, especially to consider the range of issues in faith and practice raised in related comment threads; and (3) news coverage in the immediate San Antonio region of Texas where local perspectives are provided. Please note: Inclusion of a link here does not imply automatic endorsement of the perspective or conclusions presented in that article. Exclusion of a link does not mean I left it out because it goes against my opinion. Expect that many sources may focus on salacious details or hyper-critical judgments.

I am a research writer and citizen journalist; I read widely in order to sift fact from opinion, and document my findings.From my experiences covering the emerging media on the 2012 BGBC lawsuit related to spiritual abuse, I believe that, for the first few days of this kind of breaking news story, it is especially important to capture the broadest possible range of responses to the emergence of the news. Many of the initial reactions will prove themselves to be ill-informed, offensive, and overtly defensive. However, they are still valuable to note now – as they are happening – because the perspectives and comments we find early on very often represent the range of views that will continue on for the duration. If we want to be as constructive as possible, we need to deconstruct responses that are destructive. These earliest reactions give us important “primary material” to use in our research and analysis as we discern the situation and develop informed opinions.

As mentioned earlier, we (this is a collaborative effort, but I am serving as the point person) plan to update this page, and primarily this media section, several times daily for the first week to 10 days. Upkeep activities beyond that timeframe will be determined later. Meanwhile, if you find what you think is an important new link, you can post it in the comment thread here, or email SpiritualSB@gmail dot com. We will consider the addition as quickly as possible.

APRIL 14, 2014

World Net Daily. Christian giant sued for ‘using nanny as sex object.’ Lawsuit claims religious leader promised to marry young woman after wife dies. This article gives an extensive overview on the history of this situation and the civil suit, based primarily on interviews with Ms. Torres-Manteufel. It gives material on the related homeschooling and patriarchy movements, and also includes links to the copies of the official initial petition court document (30 pages) and a response (2 pages) from the lawyer for two of the defendants, Mr. Phillips and Vision Forum, Inc.

Culture, adventure, stillness. In which Lourdes petitions for a lifeboat, by Katie Botkin.

APRIL 15, 2014

A Cry for Justice. Breaking news: Doug Phillips’ victim files lawsuit against Phillips and Vision Forum, by Barbara Roberts.

Examiner. Duggar family linked to Douglas Phillips lawsuit? Quiverfull lifestyle dissected, by Jodi Jill.

The Hope Blog. Godspeed, Lourdes Torres! A message of support from Ingrid Schlueter.

Michael Farris. Statement on Facebook page of Michael Farris of HSLDA – Home School Legal Defense Association.

Love, Joy, Feminism. Two articles – Doug Phillips: The Rest of the Story and Michael Farris, Patriarchy, and Doug Phillips: An Expose by Libby Anne.

Radar Online. Quiverfull of Scandal: Leader of Religious Movement Linked to Duggar Family Sued for Allegedly Making Teen ‘Personal Sex Slave,’ by Amber Ryland.

The Raw Story. Lawsuit reveals teen was groomed as personal sex slave in the Duggar family’s movement, by Travis Gettys.

San Antonio Express-News. Lawsuit claims S.A. religious leader preyed on his kids’ nanny, by Abe Levy. This article is from a local newspaper near where the alleged activities took place.

Spiritual Sounding Board. Lourdes Torres, Alleged Victim in the Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) Sex Abuse Scandals Files Lawsuit. An early overview of the breaking news story of the lawsuit.

That Mom. Lawsuit filed against Doug Phillips on behalf of abused woman, by Karen Campbell.

APRIL 16, 2014

Christian Post. Vision Forum Founder Doug Phillips Accused By Woman of Treating Her Like ‘Personal Sex Object’ in Lawsuit, by Morgan Lee.

Christian Post. Head of the Home School Legal Defense Association Blasts Doug Phillips’ Biblical Patriarchy Practices, by Morgan Lee.

Homeschoolers Anonymous. Michael Farris, Patriarchy, and Doug Phillips: An Expose, a repost with permission of Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism; plus background research and commentary by R.L. Stoller.

Kens 5, San Antonio. Former minister denies allegations that he kept woman as a ‘sex object’, by Joe Conger. This article was picked up April 17 by KHOU in Houston, Texas.

Love, Joy, FeminismMichael Farris Admits He Messed Up, by Libby Anne.

The Daily Beast. Sex Scandal Rocks The Duggars’ Christian Patriarchy Movement, by Amanda Marcotte.

The Daily Mail/Mail Online (UK). Leader of Christian ministry followed by the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids And Counting is accused of using teenage girl as ‘personal sex slave’ in $1m lawsuit, by David McCormack.

The Gospel Herald. Doug Phillips Once Again Sued for Using Nanny as ‘Personal Sex Object,’ by Leah Marianne Klett.

Newser. Sex Scandal Hits Christian ‘Patriarchal’ Movement, by John Johnson.

No Longer Quivering. News: Media Starting to Link Duggar Family to Doug Phillips Finally, by Suzanne Calulu.

Slate. Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse, by Amanda Marcotte.

Sola Sisters. Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice, by Christine Pack.

1200 News Radio WOAI. Local Home Schooling Leader Named in Explosive Lawsuit, by Jim Forsyth. From a San Antonio-area radio station.

The Wartburg Watch. Doug Phillips’ Alleged Victim Files Lawsuit with Explosive Accusations, by Deb Martin.

The Wire. Christian ‘Biblical Patriarchy’ Leader Sued for ‘Inappropriate’ Sexual Acts, by Abby Ohlheiser.

World. Legal complaint filed in Vision Forum case. The possibility of a messy trial brings important reminders about Christian clarity, by Jamie Dean.

APRIL 17, 2014

Huffington Post Religion. Doug Phillips’ Biblical Patriarchy Scandal Moves to the Courts, by Julie Ingersoll. 

KSAT.com (San Antonio, Texas). ‘Sex object’ allegations denied by former church leader. Douglas Phillips’ attorney claims woman’s lawsuit ‘all about money,’ by Paul Venema.

1200 News Radio WOAI. Prominent Local Pastor Resonds [sic] to Sex Allegations, by Jim Forsyth. Responses by Mr. Phillips’ legal counsel, Jason Jakob, to the allegations and implications of the lawsuit.

APRIL 18, 2014

American Spectator. Leave the Duggars Alone, by Natalie deMacedo.

APRIL 21, 2014

Chris Jeub. Doug Phillips, High Priest, by Chris Jeub.

Religion Dispatches. Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Patriarchal Christian Group, by Julie Ingersoll.

Watch the Shepherd. On Patriarchy, Scandal, Abuse, and Grace, by Virginia Knowles.

APRIL 22, 2014

Culture, adventure, stillness. Vice, Victims and Doug Wilson, by Katie Botkin. A response to a blog post by Doug Wilson [Vice, Victims, and Vision Forum] on Ms. Torres-Manteufel as a “victim.”

APRIL 23

The Common Room. I’m Angry, and I’m Getting Angrier, by Headmistress, zookeeper.

The Wartburg Watch. Doug Wilson Weighs in on the Doug Phillips Scandal, by Deb Martin. It references a follow-up blog post by Doug Wilson [Vision Forum and a Season of Meditation].

APRIL 24

Examiner [Denver, Colorado]. Questions about the disappearing works of Doug Phillips, by Shawn Mathis. Scott Brown from NCFIC and Kevin Swanson (Generations Radio) have scrubbed Doug Phillips’ articles/interviews: “Why are these sources of Phillips’ beliefs and practices being removed? / In the old days, when an otherwise upstanding minister goes off the deep end, his books were still accessible (thus, informative and maybe even helpful). In this case, they could be helpful for the upcoming trial. But in a digital age, information control is much easier to pull off.”

Paul’s Passing Thoughts. The Divine Right of Calvinist Kings and Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, by Paul Dohse.

Vice. A Masturbation Lawsuit is Rattling Christian Homeschoolers, by Grace Wyler.

APRIL 29

Under Much Grace. “Masturbation Lawsuit.” I Couldn’t Even Make This Stuff Up If I Tried!, by Cindy Kunsman.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Historical Overview Posts

March 29, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board. Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 3 – The Timeline. This select timeline was compiled by Julie Anne Smith of Spiritual Sounding Board, based on information she gathered over a period of several months, and from a timeline of notes sent to her by a Source with a long-time insider view of Doug Phillips and his ministry. It includes links to key documents/statements, such as the official resignation notice from Vision Forum Ministries, posted by Mr. Phillips, and later clarifications issued by the Vision Forum Ministries board.

Before Ms. Smith published this timeline, it was checked by other sources to ensure that the account was as accurate as possible. This timeline was posted before Doug Phillips’ alleged victim – Lourdes Torres-Manteufel – declared her identity publicly (which she did on April 14, 2014), so she is referred to as “Victim” throughout the timeline, and the Sources will remain unnamed.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Potentially Relevant Legal Information

The following posts give information that may prove relevant in this lawsuit – please check out the links and information so you can decide for yourself and/or craft informed questions that will help us all better understand the lawsuit and processes leading up to it. Also, to avoid unnecessary confusion and unhelpful speculation, please keep in mind that this is a civil suit, not a criminal trial – although it has been suggested that there may possibly be a base for certain kinds of criminal charges and that these may emerge during the “discovery phase” of the lawsuit. A key thing to note is that civil suits use different procedures than do criminal cases. (For instance, in a civil lawsuit, the outcome is based on a “preponderance of evidence,” NOT on it being “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard in criminal trials.) Please note: Any edits made to text here are within [square brackets].

March 23, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board. Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim. This post contains links to relevant information on clergy ethics, clergy sexual abuse, and legal information, especially as it relates to the state of Texas where the alleged sexually and spiritually abusive activities took place. Especially important to note is that Mr. Phillips’ role as an elder in Boerne Christian Assembly apparently puts him into a specific role of spiritual authority over Ms. Torres, and thus in a position of power – this uneven power dynamic would mean that this is not a situation involving interactions of a sexual nature between equal and “consenting adults.”

As with the other articles in her three-part series, author Julie Anne Smith states that she wrote “the majority of this article in my own words based on information sent to me and many hours on the phone with a specific person who has had a birds-eye view of Doug Phillips and his ministry for many years. Before publishing, it has then been checked by other sources to ensure that the account is as accurate as possible.” This article was posted before Doug Phillips’ alleged victim – Lourdes Torres-Manteufel – declared her identity publicly (which she did on April 14, 2014), so she is referred to as “Victim” throughout the timeline, and the Sources will remain unnamed.

April 15, 2014@ 1:13 PM, Comment from Amy Smith @watchkeep.

Julie Anne, The law you are referencing is in the [Texas] penal code which defines criminal activity:
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

Title 5. Offenses against the person.
Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.
Sec. 22.011. Sexual assault.
(b) A sexual assault […] is without the consent of the other person if: […] 10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser …
Texas Penal Code 22.011(b)(9): “by exploiting [the patient or former patient’s] . . . emotional dependency”; and (b)(10) “by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual advisor”

April 16, 2014 @ 1:42 PM, Comment from An Attorney on SSB. [“An Attorney” is a regular commenter on spiritual abuse survivor blogs about legal matters.]

Texas law makes a pastor or similar spiritual leader using his “authority” to have sex (including “almost but not quite sex”, as in this case) with a person in his church, sect, cult, sexual assault. The presumption is a lot like statutory rape.

Two forms are important. One is the person who is incapable of saying yes (due to age or infirmity), i.e., the young and the old, and some with limited intellectual or physical capabilities. The second is someone who is effectively psychologically or emotionally incapable to saying no and making it effective. This includes those being counseled or receiving psychological care, as well as those in the situation of this poor woman.

The crime is a felony, and the convict would have to register as a sex offender.

The civil lawsuit is a different matter and does not preclude a criminal case. The Bexar County District Attorney may be investigating.

There could also be criminal implications of Beale’s behavior as well as that of board members of VFM [Vision Forum Ministries] and VFI [Vision Forum, Inc.], such as witness/victim intimidation, facilitation of the offense, etc.

And I believe the BCA [Boerne Christian Assembly] could be held civilly liable.

BTW, the insurers of VFI, VFM and BCA may or may not pay to defend the suit under the circumstances, but is likely on the hook for some portion of any civil judgment. And DP [Doug Phillips] may have had his own insurance!

On an article at The Wartburg Watch – Doug Phillips’ Alleged Victim Files Lawsuit with Explosive Accusations – comment from An Attorney, about those NOT named as defendants in the lawsuit.

On an article at The Wartburg Watch – Doug Phillips’ Alleged Victim Files Lawsuit with Explosive Accusations – question from Joe, about whether Lourdes gave “consent,” and response from An Attorney, about presumptions under Texas law that someone who is under the authority of a counselor or pastor cannot deny their sexual advances, and therefore Texas law assumes the counselor’s or pastor’s advances are without permission.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Other Research and Resource Pieces

“Total Institution”

Several commenters on Spiritual Sounding Board have mentioned the relevance of the sociological concept of “total institution” to the systems of control allegedly implemented in and around the situations in this lawsuit. The term has also shown up on a significant number of the news reports and blog posts. The classic book detailing total institutions is Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates, by Erving Goffman (1961, Anchor Books/Doubleday, ISBN 0385000162). Here is a blurb from the book’s back cover:

Asylums is an analysis of life in “total institutions” – closed worlds such as prisons, army training camps, naval vessels, board schools, monasteries, and nursing homes – where the inmates are regimented, surrounded by other inmates, and unable to leave the premises. It describes what these institutions make of the inmate, and what he or she can make of life inside them. … The first essay is a general portrait of life in a total institution. The other three consider special aspects of this existence: the initial effects of institutionalization on the inmate’s previous social relationships; the ways of adapting once in the institution; and the role of the staff in presenting to the inmate the facts of his or her situation.

See also the Wikipedia article on the Asylums book. This quote from Loren Mosher, another critique of the 1950s version of mental asylums as a total institution, is quite telling about some of the critical techniques used to achieve subjugation to the system:

American psychiatrist Loren Mosher noticed that the psychiatric institution itself gave him master classes in the art of the “total institution”: labeling, unnecessary dependency, the induction and perpetuation of powerlessness, the degradation ceremony, authoritarianism, and the primacy of institutional needs over those of the persons it was ostensibly there to serve-the patients.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“Psychological Totalism” / “Authoritarianism”

An isolative society need not be a theological “cult” in order to exert mind-control over its members. The driving force can be a philosophy, political paradigm, or whatever is dictated by its charismatic leader(s). The classic study on sociological “cults” of total control over an organization’s or society’s members was also published over 50 years ago, and became a pillar in what has emerged as the discipline of “trauma psychology.” Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘Brainwashing’ in China, by Robert Jay Lifton (1961, 1989, University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0807842532). For an overview and PDF summary of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria for identifying an authoritarian organization, see: Lessons from The Hunger Games 5A – Dystopian Dynamics, Totalitarian Tactics, and Lifton’s Criteria for Identifying “Cults,” by Brad Sargent.

How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

If you’d prefer to have a printable copy, I have compiled this three-part mini-series into a PDF on Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Identifying Authoritarian Cults. I reformatted the material so each of his criteria begins on a new page.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“Bounded Choice”

These two comments by Cindy Kunsman help understand some of the psycho-social dimensions of how authoritarianism and total institutions function to keep people “tethered” in an orbit in and around the system, unable to find their way easily to freedom. She mentions works by Janja Lalich. For more information, see:

**

Cindy K

Earlier today, I explained the concept of Bounded Choice to a reporter. Those who are not raised in a high demand setting don’t realize all of the internal resources, experience and encouragement that that they take for granted — things that are never afforded to people who grew up with blanket training and other types of high control environments. When all major decisions are governed by parents and are submitted for their approval, young people fail to develop the experience and full ability to discern matters for themselves. Under extreme stress, they tend to freeze like a deer in the headlights — which is actually an adaptive response that helps them survive trauma.

But though it seems like they have choices that they can make and should be able to exercise some autonomy, they can’t. Autonomy in many Calvinist circles is seen as a filthy word describing sin. They don’t have the liberty or the where with all to act on their own behalf. From the outside of the system, those looking into it assume wrongly that a “second generation adult” (SGA — a person raised in a high demand religion) has the same set of skills, instincts and resources to free themselves that they would have. First generation adults — those who have “good enough” backgrounds also take for granted their own skills and abilities as well. They are grossly lacking in SGAs. There is also the issue of the effect of habituation in an abusive relationshp that Patrick Carnes describes so well in the Betrayal Bond. People lose perspective and believe they are powerless. SGAs suffer from lack of self-care, soul crushing perfectionism, lack of appropriate interpersonal boundaries, and their normal level of living is bathed in extremism. They often develop what is termed as “learned helplessness.”

That is apart from the consequences of rebellion against the will of one’s parents (that God is taught to punish for exiting the umbrella of protective authority) and that by losing a parent’s favor, one might actually lose their own soul in the process by failing in their submission. They may have choices, but they have no ability to seize them. They are unthinkable options that never occur to the SGA until the point at which their survival depends on it. Even then, they need the help and encouragement of those who can work with them to help them recover what they lost in terms of their growth and development.

http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-betrayal-bonds-exploit-trust-and.html

Within adult relationships, research demonstrates the following compulsive relationship patterns in those who have suffered trauma. They manifest as are used by those who have suffered trauma in the same way that an addict uses a chemical substance or behavior to avoid negative feelings, negative circumstances, and rejection (Carnes on pages 125-127; West & Sheldon in Classification of Pathological Attachment Patterns in Adults; Sable in Disorders of Adult Attachment).

Relationship Patterns of Victims in Response to Those who Exploit Power
Compulsive Helplessness
Compulsive Focus on the Abuser (Involves caretaking and enmeshment)
Compulsive Self-Reliance
Compulsive Caregiving
Compulsive Care-Seeking
Compulsive Rejection
Compulsive Compliance
Compulsive Identification with Others
Compulsive Reality Distortion (Denial of abuse and wishful thinking)
Compulsive Abuse Seeking (In other relationship or through self-destructive behavior)

**

Cindy K

This describes bounded choice in greater detail with much more via the link:

http://undermoregrace.blogspot.com/2009/03/bounded-choice-as-another-component-of.html

I once heard a story about an elephant that spent its life tethered to a stake that was driven deeply into the ground. He spent his whole life living only within the radius allowed by the tether. One day, the tether breaks, but the elephant never ventures out beyond that which he has always known, even though he is no longer physically restricted. He stays within the familiar and never ventures out beyond the well-worn path, the radius of that which the elephant has always known. It’s really quite a sad story.

The concept of bounded choice parallels that of the story of the elephant. Though no physical restraints exist, people who believe that they have no choice find that forces more powerful than physical ones keep them bound to a predictable number of options. In “Take Back Your Life,” what I consider the definitive guide to personal recovery from group manipulation, Janja Lalich describes what bounded choice looks like for those within a group.

From page 50:
In other words, neither the charismatic leader nor others in the group need to be present to tell a follower what to do; rather, having internalized the lessons and adapted her outlook, the loyal and true believer knows precisely what she needs to do to stay in the good graces of the all-knowing and all powerful leader. The true believer need only ‘imagine’ what actions to take, knowing full well that she will act within the bounds of the cult reality, for in a sense her self has merged with the leader and the group.
What other reality is there? The one thing the devoted adherents cannot imagine is life outside the group. In other words, the cult member is constrained by both external (real or imagined) and internal sanctions. At this point, whatever choices remain are “bounded” ones. They are choices, yes, but not free ones. They are choices of life or death — figuratively, and, in some cases, literally.

Once an individual becomes a part of a closed, totalistic system, several factors work to keep them entrenched in that system, powerfully tethered to the predictable radius that is acceptable to the group. Members appear to have a wealth of options, but often, the group dynamics and the withholding of information and knowledge drastically limit rational choice. Because of distorted and absent boundaries, personal choice actually become organizational choice which constrains the member to a predetermined set of “givens.” Though it is true that all people do not possess an unlimited number of possibilities, the structure of totalistic groups confines them even further.

Janja Lalich expands upon this concept to describe the comprehensive factors that bind an individual within a totalistic group, identifying four “interlocking and interactional dimensions of the social structure” that creates a “bounded reality and contribute to a state of personal closure for the individual participant” (pg 261).

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Post Development History

Additions to the section on news articles and blog post may be updated daily, and so are not noted below.

April 16-17, 2014 – resource page developed.

April 17 – resource page posted. New media links added.

April 18 – Bexar County Court Record Site and usage instructions added. April 17th statement from the board of Vision Forum Ministries added. List of names in Key Individuals in the Unfolding Story section expanded and then categorized.

April 20 – addition of two links to the Potentially Relevant Legal Information section. Corrections made to details on the prison sentence of Jack Schaap. Addition of clarification between David C. Gibbs, Jr., and David C. Gibbs III.

April 23 – expansion of the Other Research and Resource Pieces with additional sources on “Total Institution” and the addition of entries on “Bounded Choice.”

74 comments on “Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Lawsuit Informational Resource Page

  1. I don’t see how any jury could take a position that a man masturbating and ejaculating on a young lady is not a sex act, it clearly is. Doing so against her will is as a matter of law RAPE. Actual Penetration is not required in most states for someone to be convicted of RAPE. There was a case out of Florida were two drunk women held another woman down as some drunk ( idiot) guy removed her clothes kissed her genitalia. All three were convicted of rape and sentenced to very long prison sentences. If everything claimed in the filing is 100% factual I believe Doug will eventually be charged with rape.

    That being said conviction and even a civil victory is going to be tough. There doesn’t seem to be mention of any third party witnesses, which surprises me since it was reported that her family and Doug’s wife and children caught them several times in acts of an intimate nature. If true I would call his kids and her family members as witnesses. Only a spouse can refuse to testify against someone in a criminal matter. Anyone could be called in the civil side of litigation. I’m also very concerned about the incident in the Phillip’s kitchen that is alleged in the complaint and how that will play to a jury. I can imagine how rough the cross examination on that is going to be. When Doug’s kids where in the dining room and he allegedly went into the kitchen and committed an act against her will, resulting in ejaculation while she was attempting to make lunch. It is going to be very difficult to get a jury to envision that even being possible without immediately being discovered by those in the next room. Create one bit of doubt in the jury’s mind and the whole case collapses.

    Like

  2. Does anyone have a clue as to when this will actually get into a courtroom? If this was a Law and Order episode, court would start in 10 minutes, after a brief commercial break for Colgate and Wheaties. But in real life, this could take years, could it not? Just wondering.

    Ed

    Like

  3. I suspect that the plaintiff attorneys will submit discovery requests (actually demands!) for documents, depositions, etc., fairly soon, to each of the entities and people. Most complex or hard fought cases in TX start with paper discovery, followed by depositions, etc. The statements of the theory of the case in early paperwork will be interesting. Then the depositions. There may be settlement discussions off and on. There is a standing order in civil cases in Bexar County that require mediation and a goodly number of highly qualified mediators there, as a result. Of course, the mediation is confidential unless an agreement is reached.

    I suspect discovery will start within a few weeks and be followed by depositions beginning in a couple of months, possibly occurring over several months. A trial before 2015 is unlikely. I suspect that the insurers, if any, will be pressing for settlement.

    One interesting part of the paper discovery is likely to be disclosure of financial assets of the defendants, under oath! That may be protected for individuals, but not likely for the entities. Hiding assets and getting caught will generally turn the judge and any jury against the party so acting.

    Like

  4. Thanks BD for the lead to the Bexar County Court Records Site. I’ve added a section with that link and instructions for finding updates on the official status of the case and developments. That will be a great help as things progress!

    chapmaned24 – One of the articles I read suggested it might be a year before the case comes to trial. That would make sense, given the amount of time needed for discovery and depositions, court schedules, the complexity of the case, etc. With the 2012 BGBC lawsuit in Oregon where Julie Anne was a defendant, the case was put on an expedited court schedule because an Anti-SLAPP motion was filed — and it still took about six months from filing to finish.

    Thanks for the comments and positive feedback. If you have additional links or suggestions for how to make this reference page more helpful, please note them in the comment thread. We’ll work on them as soon as possible.

    Like

  5. Thanks An Attorney. That gives a realistic look. I just have one more question, tho. At what point does this turn from a civil trail for monetary damages, to a criminal charge for jail time? Or, is it all wrapped into one here? Based on what I am reading, this is criminal stuff here, so why the civil trial at this point? Me, being a couch potato, arm chair quarter back thinks that a criminal trial usually comes before the monetary damages. I think I am confused.

    Like

  6. Wow! Thanks for your work! This is exactly the kind of thing I have been needing to wrap my head around the events, and to see how they compare to other situations with which I am more familiar (to get a handle on what similarities–and differences–exist).
    Thank you again!!

    Like

  7. “There doesn’t seem to be mention of any third party witnesses,”

    Why this insistence on witnesses? I don’t get this. This is not a criminal proceeding where the prosecution has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil proceedings just ask “Did the plaintiff prove her case BY THE PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE”.

    Like

  8. So much to read, sooooo little time… At least I know I’m caught up with what JA has written.

    Well done, Brad. Thank you for all your hard work.

    Like

  9. Pingback: Lourdes Torres, Alleged Victim in the Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) Sex Abuse Scandals Files Lawsuit | Spiritual Sounding Board

  10. Great compilation of resources – thank you! Two suggestions:

    I think the Geoff Botkin family should be added to your “Key Individuals” list, given their inclusion of Ms. Torres-Manteufel in their Patriarchy/SAHD-lauding “Return of the Daughters” DVD.

    Katie (the sane) Botkin has posted a second essay about this, “Let’s Talk About Something Real,” on her blog.

    Like

  11. It appears the April 17, 2014, statement of Vision Forum Ministries (VFM) board may be in part a response to the plaintiff’s Petition, page 15, paragraph #54. That paragraph states the following (and notice that the last sentence mentions the VFM board).

    54. 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:

    During the last ten weeks, and ultimately for the last nine months, you have been lighting bombs all across the country. Right now, you may have a perception of peace, but what you don’t know is that these bombs are about to explode in a manner that will change all of our lives forever. It will affect your life, your marriage prospects . . . your parents . . . and thousands of other people. It is far worse than you imagine.

    The VFM board has encouraged me to let you know about these and to work with you to give you an opportunity to stop impending destruction.

    Two observations.

    (1) The threatening email attributed to Beall Phillips implicates the VFM board in attempts to silence Ms. Torres. In my opinion, the main point of the April 17th announcement from the VFM board is to counteract the notion that they are in any way responsible for suggesting Ms. Phillips attempt to silence Ms. Torres.

    (2) There is probably “bad blood” between Douglas Phillips and the VFM board for his apparently leaving them unaware of his adulterous relationship until September 2013, and potentially for other actions. VFM is a defendant in this case, and as far as I know as of yesterday (April 17) their legal counsel has not yet been announced – but their absence from announcements about Jason Jakob serving as counsel to Doug and Beall Phillips and Mr. Phillips’ business, Vision Forum, Inc., may be telling. We may see additional attempts by VFM to separate itself from Mr. Phillips and VFI, and contradict statements that appear from Mr. Phillips, Ms. Phillips, and/or their attorney.

    Like

  12. “It will affect your life, your marriage prospects . . . your parents . . . and thousands of other people. It is far worse than you imagine. ”

    This is the part that galls me. Marriage prospects? Now there is an insight into their deranged thinking concerning women, marriage, etc. Think of what Beall is really saying here. She will have to get out of the patriarchal ghetto thinking for a real clue.

    But think of where Beall is coming from. In her mind, Lourdes is still the malleable girl who can be manipulated into believing her silence will save many people. And she is trying to put the burden of other peoples lives on Lourdes. So her silence will “save others”. From what? Truth?

    Lourdes is the one putting herself out there to be trashed by those stuck in the ghetto by speaking up. She has left the “hood” and they will pull out all the stops to shut her up. She is the one with real courage.

    Boy,when you stop being the lackey they cannot handle it. And their wrath reigns down. I have seen it over and over. But they are really stupid when you think about it. It is their “normal” so they don’t think about what such words sound like outside their ghetto. Because it sounds natural and normal to them. That tells us all we need to know.

    Like

  13. Yea, I was thinking they might be trying to publicly defend themselves, Brad. I wonder if they have legal counsel yet. It seems an odd statement to make out of the clear blue.

    Like

  14. Brad and JA –

    If I was a board member of VFM I wouldn’t share an attorney with Phillips. No way. As far as the email is concerned (I’m assuming it does exist), if Beall didn’t write it, she can say so. One way or another, if it came from her email account, it’s a piece of evidence that could cause severe trouble.

    Like

  15. Some thoughts and questions.

    At this point, I think it’s appropriate that many notes should still be labeled as “apparently” and “allegedly.” At this point, they are opinions — and this is why I said, “The threatening email ATTRIBUTED to Beall Phillips …” — or they are reasonable presumptions of fact. For instance, I find it difficult to believe that such an email document as referenced in the Petition doesn’t exist. It is too specific, and presumably there’s an electronic version available. And for Ms. Torres to make up such a statement would be incredibly damaging to her case. But eventually it will likely become known — presumably under oath — who actually wrote and who sent the email.

    I think VFM hiring a separate lawyer totally makes sense. The question I have is — if this goes to trial — can the jury find two of the three defendants (i.e., Mr. Phillips and his VFI business) responsible and the third defendant (VFM) not responsible? Or responsible for damages, but at significantly differing levels?

    Like

  16. “VFM is a defendant in this case, and as far as I know as of yesterday (April 17) their legal counsel has not yet been announced – but their absence from announcements about Jason Jakob serving as counsel to Doug and Beall Phillips and Mr. Phillips’ business, Vision Forum, Inc., may be telling. ”

    Maybe they did not pay the board member protection insurance premiums. Or maybe they did not have any insurance. In my experience the non profit carried the insurance and pays the premiums. But VFM was disolved/closed, right? This is a tricky business with non profits.

    Like

  17. I am so greatful for sites like this! We will have to come back often to “cleanse our brains” once Phillips starts talking. His first tactic will probably be victim shaming and no one wants to hear that nonsense from his mouth. If this does go to trial, Lourdes and Nolan will need all the spiritual and emotional support they can get. Phillips loves the spotlight and is use to manipulating his image as a great leader. He won’t be able to control “public opinion” as easily and hopefully, this same spotlight will expose the pain and abuse caused by his actions.

    Like

  18. Can someone please answer why Lourdes would offer to settle for 10 million of her objective is to get the word out and protect others from going through a similar thing? I believe she is telling the truth, but the money aspect of this is throwing me for a loop. Is she just brave for telling her story or does the 20 million she is hoping to get from winning a lawsuit have something to do with her talking?

    Like

  19. Information about the offer to settle for $10 million only comes from Phillips’ side. And since mediation is required, the other side has to say what they would settle for to avoid court.

    But I cannot say this strongly enough, I don’t care about Lourdes asking for money. AT ALL. Why is is that abusive pastors and malignant organizations can cause all kinds of damage but the victims are expected to be so saintly that they should never ask for money? We live in a highly materialistic capitalistic society and having to shell out money for civil wrongdoing is about the only deterrent that will work. Doug Phillips would apologize from here to eternity to get out of this and enjoy crafting the verbiage. And organizations and corporations will happily apologize to avoid affecting the bottom line. But they won’t change.

    Like

  20. And, I am sure that a settlement would include a clause of some sort, barring Lourdes from ever publicly speaking about it, that way, Doug can get on with his life, and reemerge as the next greatest thing since the Messiah.

    No, I say to let the court decide the amount, and not to settle out of court. Get this as public as possible, and let there be a criminal investigation that would put him in jail.

    Ed

    Like

  21. Let’s be real here. Doug Phillips was the board of VFM, everyone else was just eye candy. It is laughable that Scott Brown and company would retain the same legal councel as Doug. That is just not going to happen. I don’t exactly think Doug is Scott’s favorite person right now 🙂

    Like

  22. NmGirl: I’m hoping that their are in fact witnesses to atleast one incident , otherwise I believe Doug Phillips will prevail in court. With respect to evidence, what evidence are you referring to ? All the facts that have been laid out thus far could just as easily support Doug Phillips claim that it was a consensual “relationship” and that she was actively encouraging it.

    Winning this case isn’t going to be a walk in the park and the plaintiff will no doubt get called to the stand and cross examined by an experienced litigator. Sympathy, regardless of how heart felt and deserved isn’t going to win a jury trial. The defense will present the victim in a certain light and that isn’t going to be a pleasant experience. If I was defending Phillips ( and that would never happen because I can’t stand the guy and believe he is a sexual predator ) the plaintiff would be reframed as the patriarchal World’s MONICA Lewinsky. A selfish person that was having a multi-year adulteress relationship so she could benefit by being taken on trips she could never afford, have jewelry she could never afford and enjoy a lifestyle far above the mobile home she lived in with her family. The defense will do everything they can to make her look like a manipulative slut, guaranteed. Once that thought is in the jury’s minds it’s game over because it really comes down to her word again this, unless there are other witnesses. Hopefully she taped phone calls, video taped him Or something of that nature to support her claims.

    The first question the defense is going to ask her is why didn’t you tell your parents before Mr. Phillips was caught outside your window ? If you were being subject to such vile conduct why didn’t you contact the police ? Seek out help from a domestic violence hotline, abuse shelter etc. How is it that the scene in the kitchen even occurred without other members of the home ( that were in the next room) noticing what was occurring. I would have the jury on a field trip to the home and point out how unbelievable that claim really is. All the I was in a cult and religious bla bla in the complaint is going to be tossed aside, guaranteed. The average prospective jury member doesn’t have a clue about the patriarchal movement and the jury will be asking all of the above questions in their own minds they deliberate.

    Personally I don’t believe the plaintiff’s attorney plans on this case ever going to trial. I believe it was filed, to be settled out of court. He is probably already talking to the insurance companies and we will never know the total truth of what really occurred.
    I bet this is settled before thanksgiving and Doug Phillips is busy remarketing himself as some sort of Job like character deserving of our sympathy.

    I wonder how many gullible, home school drones will fall for that AGAIN and jump right back on the crazy train for a connecting flight to the titanic.

    Like

  23. Barbara, I read it, too, and it’s pretty obvious it’s about the Vision Forum culture. I didn’t care so much for the writing, but if you want to understand how the culture affects you emotionally and relationally, it is good and important because you can see how everyday conversation and living in Patriarchy manifests itself – especially as a woman.

    I will continue to say that women and ladies living under Patriarchy are living in a type of cult. They are being controlled by a system and culture. They lose all autonomy, individual thinking, etc.

    Like

  24. Scott @ APRIL 18, 2014 @ 1:30 PM

    May I gently caution you about making such strong assertions about how the case will go and what a jury is likely to think or do. Remember this is a civil case (at this stage) not a criminal case, and the burden of proof is different. While your speculations may be right (or wrong) I don’t think it is very helpful to Lourdes for people to be speculating about how the case will go. Let her attorneys advise her on that. They are the experts and they have a lot more information than we do.

    Let’s not say things that may unduly frighten or panic Lourdes. As a victim of abuse myself, I know how easy it is for me to be thrown into a minor spin of panic, my mind racing on thoughts of what might occur — especially when I”m tired or run down. And we can all be tired or run down sometimes.

    Let’s remember that Lourdes, for all her amazing courage and tenacity, is still likely to be easily triggered. She seems to be making a great recovery from the multiple forms of abuse she’s suffered, but no one is made of titanium, and recovery is an iterative process that takes time. My suggestions is: let her attorneys advise her, and keep our own speculations to a minimum. For her sake.

    Bless you Lourdes if you are reading this. (hugs)

    Like

  25. Julie Anne:

    Re: the 10 million dollar thing.

    The defendants would have received a letter of intent some time ago (that a civil suit would be filed).

    The lawyers get together and the defense asks what it will take to make it go away.

    The plaintiff lawyer throws out a ridiculous amount – say 10 million – because their intent is not to make it go away, their intent is to go to court.

    I’d like to ask An Attorney if throwing out 10 million is a kind of, ‘see you in court we’re in this for the long haul’ statement. Perhaps 10 million isn’t unreasonable for a Texas former ministry…

    Since civil settlements involve finances, the amount requested by Lourdes Torres-Manteufel will be on court docs down the road.

    As an aside, I read over at Free Jinger that a private detective hired by Phillips was contacting people – before this suit was filed. The person mentioning that was letting people know they were under no obligation to talk with him.

    Did any of you watch Doug Phillips body language in the tv interview?
    He was nodding yes when he was saying no, etc. Opposite of his words.

    Like

  26. “Did any of you watch Doug Phillips body language in the tv interview?
    He was nodding yes when he was saying no, etc. Opposite of his words.”

    As in one of the “Liespotting” clues? Good catch.

    “As an aside, I read over at Free Jinger that a private detective hired by Phillips was contacting people – before this suit was filed. The person mentioning that was letting people know they were under no obligation to talk with him.”

    Ugh! I know exactly how this works — more behind-the-scenes manipulations that people not involved in the situation will never see.

    Like

  27. Barbara, I’m quite familiar with the standards of evidence, what constitutes proof in a court of law and what a jury is even allowed to hear. If this case doesn’t get tossed before trail, I will be shocked as there is just no evidence here at all. The plaintiff making a series of allegations does Not a case make. It is a basic he says, she says type of case and under this system of jurisprudence that doesn’t fly.

    There is a reason counsel clouded the complaint with lots of general information about patriarchy etc. All the religious chatter in the complaint about this strange group will not win a lawsuit. It’s a press release seeking a settlement. Its was filler, lots of filler where there is no provable facts, or anything close to evidence. With respect to the plaintiff reading this biog, I find that unlikely. She is of course a witness in a case and the attorney has of course advised her to avoid discussing or reading about the matter. Regardless, once you file a lawsuit Its a very public matter and will be discussed all over. I’m not convinced that she is 100% a victim and Phillips 100% guilty of what is being alleged. In our zeal to protect victims of abuse we can’t create another partial victim by assuming that charges in a lawsuit are true when ZERO in the way of evidence has been offered.

    In the interest of fairness and accuracy:

    It has been mentioned that the plaintiffs attorney was also involved in the Jack Schapp case in Hammond Indiana, that is not true. His father from an entirely different legal practice was involved after being brought in by the church.

    On this resource page it states that Jack Schapp is currently in Federal prison for having sex with a minor. That is FALSE. Under Indiana law she was of the age of majority. Jack Schapp was charged, prosecuted and convicted in Federal court for violation of the MANN ACT, in that he took a woman under the age of 18 across State lines for the purpose of sexual relations. The age of consent is 16 in Indiana, so the incidents of sexual contact at the church or within the state were perfectly legal. Mr. Schaap ran afoul of the MANN Act by driving the woman across state lines. That is why he is in Federal Prison.

    Like

  28. The sexual contact with her in Michigan was also legal as the age of consent there is also 16. The offense was the transportation across state lines.

    Like

  29. Scott — thank you for the correction on Jack Schaap and the Mann Act. I’ve just made the correction on that, and added a link to a description of the Mann Act. I do what I can to be accurate but I make mistakes.

    Like

  30. Scott — I’ve also added in the above page a notation about the differences between David C. Gibbs, Jr., (the father, who was attorney for Jack Schaap) and David C. Gibbs III (the son, who is the attorney for Lourdes Torres-Manteufel). I’ve run into some online links that didn’t distinguish between the two.

    Like

  31. Scott, did you forget that Phillips himself confessed to an inappropriate relationship with a woman that involved some kind of sexual contact? They both agree that no intercourse took place and now his lawyer says he never touched her in a sexual way (she says otherwise). What does that leave then? And how do you know what kind of evidence they have? Phillips himself says that there were many exchanges over the Internet. Do you know what he wrote to her? Phillips also confessed to his former interns and another minister. Do you know what he said to them? We know he named the woman but we don’t know what he said his role was. And we don’t know what people witnessed. There may be witnesses who heard or saw incriminating things who haven’t volunteered to testify and are not in the complaint but would tell the truth in a deposition.

    Like

  32. Brad,

    Under April 15, 2014, the link to this article: Michael Farris, Patriarchy, and Doug Phillips: An Expose by Libby Anne is broken. It brings you to a page that says “not found- error 404.” Just thought you’d like to know. It’s an excellent article.

    Mod note: JA fixed it. Thanks, BTDT!

    Like

  33. FWIW, I have not come to a final conclusion about how to interpret the plaintiff’s Petition – I expect to re-read it multiple times before settling in on that. But I do have one tentative conclusion that I can’t shake, and I offer it here for consideration.

    I do understand that this is a CIVIL LAWSUIT, not a criminal case. However, since it is taking place in Texas, the PENAL [criminal] CODE may have relevance to the logic behind the plaintiff’s Petition and the mention of patriarchy, etc. Here is a link to and quotation from what I see as the potentially relevant section, which is Texas Penal Code, Title 5 (Offenses Against The Person), Chapter 22 (Assaultive Offenses), Section 22.011 (Sexual Assault), Subsection (b)(10):

    (b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if: […] (10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser; […]

    So – are patriarchy (and all those other related beliefs) and the “total institution” concept relevant or irrelevant to this civil suit? And if they are relevant, how so?

    As best I can see it so far, it seems to me that they are. Patriarchy, plus exceptional strong versions of gender complementarianism, family-integrated churches, authoritarian hierarchical church leadership structures, teachers and organizations that promote “multiple umbrellas of authority” doctrines, etc. etc. actually *ALL* deal with the central theme of spiritual authorities in a person’s life.

    That boils it down to its essential character. Imagine trying to live in a system where each and all of those subsystems are woven throughout the culture! To give some detail, these systems teach that women are subject to the authority of men, children to the authority of parents, younger people to the authority of elders, employees to the authority of employers, congregants to the authority of elders/leaders, etc. In a “total institution” where submission is expected/required to a gridlock of such authority structures, Ms. Torres-Manteufel would find herself at the bottom of the pyramid: young woman, daughter of congregants, volunteer and employee – subject to the authority and advise and teachings of older men, congregational elders, supervisor and employer.

    So, is it potentially relevant to the above section of the Texas CRIMINAL code to make the case in a CIVIL SUIT where discovery may disclose more details, that Lourdes (then) Torres would have not just an emotional-relational connection with Doug Phillips, but would be under his spiritual authority and advice? After all, she was subject to his authority in multiple ways since she was a younger woman whose family members were then in the congregation where Mr. Phillips served as elder – and she sometimes served in the Phillips household as nanny – and that she sometimes was employed to work for the Vision Forum, Inc., business that Mr. Phillips owned.

    This all seems to add to the conclusion I make that Mr. Phillips was indeed a “clergyman” in her life, in addition to his other multiple roles. And so, he is potentially subject to the criminal injunctions of 5.22.011(b)(10), isn’t he?
    And I don’t think it really works when those taking the defense of Mr. Phillips suggest he was NOT Ms. Torres’ pastor because he was out of town so much on Vision Forum activities. Certainly, had he not wanted the title, role, or responsibility of elder at Boerne Christian Assembly, he could have declined taking on the position or could have resigned from it to devote himself to other things – and not waited until he apparently felt pressure to resign in January 2013, a month after he was reportedly caught at night trying to enter the Torres family residence via Ms. Torres’ bedroom window. But, as long as he was an elder, wasn’t he legally responsible and accountable to lead and advise and oversee the congregation? Wouldn’t he therefore be considered a clergyman for all that time until he resigned his eldership role?

    So, there’s my initial take on the Petition and some of the responses, after Week #1.

    Like

  34. The civil suit under the rules has a different status vis a vis a subpoena to Beale to force her to give a deposition and to testify. Certainly that would be interesting testimony. She cannot be forced to testify against him in criminal court, but testimony in a deposition in a civil case has the potential to be used, and could force DP’s attorneys to put her on the stand and subject to questioning by the plaintiff’s attorneys. I also believe that plaintiff’s attorneys should name her as a defendant either in this suit or another for her threats.

    More states are adopting the standard that a person under the “authority” of another is disabled from giving consent, making a sexual relationship between them sexual assault. I do not have access to the Michigan, Indiana or Illinois statutes at present, but if any of them have such a provision, Schapp could be prosecuted in state court as well, perhaps getting a stacked sentence.

    Like

  35. Thanks, An Attorney. I’m doing the best I can to compile primary and secondary sources, and then understand it from a layperson’s point of view. I suppose if that tentative conclusion is what I could reach by reading and reflecting, then maybe jury members could reach similar conclusions if there are additional details. We’ll see …

    Like

  36. @An Attorney, 6:59 PM said: “More states are adopting the standard that a person under the ‘authority’ of another is disabled from giving consent, making a sexual relationship between them sexual assault. I do not have access to the Michigan, Indiana or Illinois statutes at present, but if any of them have such a provision, Schapp could be prosecuted in state court as well, perhaps getting a stacked sentence.”

    I spent some time rummaging around the same site I used for citations on Texas law. I found what may be relevant sections re: Schaap and the 16-year-old young woman he took across state lines.

    ILLINOIS — Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 5 Criminal Code of 2012. Section 11-1.20.

    Sec. 11-1.20(a)(4). Criminal Sexual Assault. (a) A person commits criminal sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration and: […] (4) is 17 years of age or over and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age. (emphasis added)

    http://law.onecle.com/illinois/720ilcs5/11-1.20.html

    INDIANA’s compiliation of laws is a lot longer with little tiny type so that’ll take a while.

    MICHIGAN — Section 750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree; felony; consecutive terms.

    Section 750.520b(1)(iii). (1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exists: […] (iii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit. (emphasis added)

    http://law.onecle.com/michigan/750-michigan-penal-code/mcl-750-520b.html

    Like

  37. Scott,

    No evidence? Oh, I beg to differ. Emails are evidence. Statement of guilt of inappropriate physical behavior is another. No evidence, huh?

    Well, we also have another court expert on this blog, aka “An Attorney”, who just may be able to counter you, counselor!!

    Ed

    Like

  38. I would guess that there will be testimony about several “confessions” by DP from several witnesses — the girl’s parents, Beale (?), people at BCA, board members of VFM and VFI, various of the “five friends”, etc. And surely DP has aggravated the relationship with many of these potential witnesses such that some will willingly testify — but all will be subpoenaed and have to answer questions under oath. And there is likely some photographic and video evidence that the jury will find indicating an inappropriate relationship between the older and powerful DP with the young and vulnerable victim. Some of that has already been out there in the public domain.

    Like

  39. Pingback: Lourdes, Lifeboats, and Bounded Choice: Part III (Raised in a Totalist Institution) | Spiritual Sounding Board

  40. Pingback: Which “Attorney David Gibbs” Leads the Lawsuit of Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Douglas Phillips – the Father, or the Son? | Spiritual Sounding Board

  41. Pingback: Lourdes, Lifeboats, and Bounded Choice: Part IV (The Complicated Process of Exiting Totalist Groups) | Spiritual Sounding Board

  42. Looks like this page may need updating. On the court records 7/16/14 there appears this:

    ORDER TO SUBSTITUTE
    KAY ANDREWS -HAWKINS,PARNELL,THACKSTON
    & YOUNG FOR VISION FORUM MINISTRIES INC
    ( & WITHDRAWN-THOMAS C SANDERS, P.C)
    JUDGE: LARRY NOLL
    VOL: 4242 PAGE: 2997 PAGE COUNT: 1

    Like

  43. Thanks @maxwell for the update, which we’ve gotten incorporated into the post, along with some links and additional history of the legal representation for Vision Forum Ministries, Inc.

    Like

  44. Pingback: Insurance Company Files Legal Complaint against Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, and Lourdes Torres-Manteufel | Spiritual Sounding Board

  45. Pingback: Is It Time To Tell My Story? | futuristguy

  46. Pingback: Most Clicked Links in 2014 | Spiritual Sounding Board

  47. Pingback: Farris's Ferris Wheel... - Agenda 21 News

  48. I am wondering when Doug Phillips goes on trial? I have an interest in this and the whole ATI BG IBLP debacle since we were part of these organizations (I say to my shame) for over 11 years and raised four of our 5 children in these teachings. Thank you.

    Like

  49. Pingback: Update on Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Lawsuit | Spiritual Sounding Board

  50. Pingback: “Do Good and Do No Harm” Project by Brad Sargent aka FuturistGuy | Spiritual Sounding Board

  51. Pingback: Capstone 2-4: Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014) – Part 1: Setting the Stage | futuristguy

  52. Hi, Alfred. It appears the parties reached a settlement — if you go to the expanded records for this docket #, you’ll see that the last few entries before the case was dismissed are settlement-related (plaintiff filed a motion to enforce a mediated settlement agreement on 2/24/16 and there followed a flurry of activity in late February, with a hearing scheduled for mid-March but then dropped). Then nothing at all until the case was dismissed with prejudice in May. So reading between the lines, it looks like the parties reached a settlement but then went into a holding pattern until the settlement was /paid/, only then dismissing the case.

    Hope this helps!

    Like

  53. I attempted a prior reply, which seems to have been lost in the woods. If it shows up, perhaps the moderator can delete.

    My sense, enforced by other sources, is that this did not end well for the plaintiff. I suspect that she had defamed Phillips in statements to the press and, when faced with the prospect of a countersuit to that end, a right afforded defendants in such cases as a specific step in the process, she went with the most advantageous conclusion for her. Which involved correcting the public record, accepting a “with prejudice” summary judgement, and a gag order. As many hits as she accepted I cannot believe she got much of a financial settlement, but I have no information on that at all. Meaning the gag order has been observed. I was just curious if there was any more information “out there”.

    Thanks.

    Like

  54. Thanks for the reply, Alfred! With a couple of caveats (I am not a lawyer, nor have I followed this case very closely at all, so I cheerfully admit I’m missing lots of context), here’s what I’d say:

    I’m not married to the idea that there was a cash settlement. Plainly there was a /delay/ between March and May, and plainly it happened right after a motion to enforce a settlement. So I think my reading was a pretty reasonable one. But if you’re right that Phillips filed a countersuit, then it’s possible the period of inactivity had less to do with cash and more to do with waiting for Phillips to dismiss his claim with prejudice before Lourdes dismissed hers. If you know what jurisdiction the countersuit was filed in, this seems like a very testable hypothesis. So go test it, sez I. 🙂 I would be interested to hear what you find.

    Ultimately we still won’t know the terms of the settlement, but we can at least get a fuller picture of what was going on. I say “fuller” and not “full” because — well, heck, even if we had the settlement itself, AND knew EXACTLY how likely each party thought it was that they’d prevail at trial, we would still want more information (primarily about the finances of both parties, the expected costs of a trial, and the likelihood that any verdict would include attorneys’ fees). And this doesn’t even reach the question of what actually happened! But to the extent that we’re searching for the truth, it’s better to have more information than less.

    Can I ask what your sources are, by the way? I’m wary of chatter — we could, less charitably, call it gossip — that originates in a social circle favoring the defendant and claims he was vindicated. I’m even more wary if the rumors emerge only when the parties can’t speak and the records are no longer available. This is not to say that such rumors can’t be true, just that the odds are against it — certainly, experience has taught me to regard them with a jaundiced eye.

    Like

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s