ONLY ON 3: Despite precedent, SHP won’t release texts from trooper accused of rape


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Submitted: Fri, 07/27/2012 - 3:22am
Updated: Fri, 07/27/2012 - 2:33pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We have more information about the investigation into rape allegations against a state trooper. Last night the alleged rape victim showed us several text messages she says she exchanged with Trpr. Bryan Phillips, many of them explicit, leading up to the alleged attack, which she says happened Monday night.

Today, we asked Highway Patrol to see a copy of the trooper’s cell phone records.

The woman says the she met Phillips a week and a half ago on an online dating site. They also talked on the phone and exchanged texts.

We requested a copy of the text messages and calls Phillips made the past two weeks. In a statement, Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said, “There is ‘no expectation’ nor requirement for personal cell phone usage in the performance of Trooper Phillips’ duties as a state trooper… Any use of the contents of any cell phone communication that took place ‘off-duty’ and on a personal cell phone would be outside the scope of the public records law.”

We asked Gordon why, then, Highway Patrol released text messages to the media in last year’s investigation into troopers Edward Wyrick and Andrew Smith, who were accused of misconduct. Though both troopers were using personal cell phones during the on-duty incident, Gordon says the texts were released for “the integrity of the agency.”

In the meantime, Phillips is on administrative leave pending a SBI investigation and an internal investigation by Highway Patrol.

The New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office says because Phillips is in law enforcement, it is standard practice to request a SBI investigation due to conflict of interest.

We called Phillips for comment, but he has not returned my call. We also have not heard back from an SBI spokeswoman to find out why Phillips has not yet been charged or arrested. Samantha Dooies with the District Attorney’s Office says it is not unusual for the SBI to wait until more facts are un-covered before making an arrest. She says they could be waiting for results of the alleged victim’s rape kit.

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