A woman who is suing a Sussex councilman for sexual attacks against her says she stands by her story and wants her day in court.
"As painful and difficult as it is, I am glad that the truth is being laid out for all to see," said Katelynn Dunlap in a statement she recently released after filing a civil lawsuit against Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips. "While I have diligently sought justice through the criminal legal system, because of the way Vance Phillips orchestrated the events, I am unable to receive justice at this time. I refuse to be a victim anymore."
In 2012, Delaware State Police and the Attorney General's Office investigated Phillips after an anonymous letter circulated throughout Legislative Hall in Dover alleging inappropriate behavior between him and an unnamed young woman. No criminal charges were filed against Phillips by either agency.
Dunlap declined to answer a question about whether she filed the civil case because she was unhappy with the criminal investigation.
Dunlap filed a civil lawsuit against Phillips May 6 in Kent County Superior Court seeking compensatory and punitive damages for what she said was a series of sexual attacks committed by Phillips in 2011. In her statement, she said the civil suit is not about money but about justice and truth.
"This is not only about me, it is about all the other women who have suffered and have been hurt as I have," she said. "I know that there are other women who Vance Phillips has harmed, and I for one refuse to be silent anymore. I implore all those women to come forward and stand with me. You are not alone, so let us stand together. It is time for the truth, it is time for justice and it is time for our healing. He has taken so much from us already. It is time we say, 'No more!'"
Phillips, an avowed Christian who supported reciting the Lord's Prayer before Sussex County meetings, asked viewers of his Facebook page to pray for Dunlap and her family.
"There is obvious pain and my prayer is that God will provide comfort and healing," he wrote. "Prayers for my family would also be appreciated."
He offered a short statement in response to Dunlap's recent statement.
"It's a very sad situation which unfortunately is being played out in the media. I will continue to defer to my attorney's advice and hold my testimony until the trial," he said.
The lawsuit states Dunlap and Phillips developed a relationship in 2010 while the two worked on a political campaign when she was 16. She looked up to him as a close friend and advisor; however, shortly after she turned 18 the lawsuit states their relationship took a sexual twist. Throughout the summer of 2011, the two met on 10 occasions at various locations in Kent and Sussex counties that included motels, open fields and Phillips' farmhouse, the lawsuit states.
Dunlap contends in the lawsuit that she suffered severe and serious physical mental and emotional injuries and continues to suffer from them.