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Milford Beacon
  • Flowers cleared of harrassment allegations

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  • Delaware Treasurer Chipman L. “Chip” Flowers Jr. has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, following a Dover police investigation into a harassment complaint filed by a former deputy treasurer.
    Erika Benner initially filed the complaint on July 6 after an alleged confrontation between Flowers and Benner’s 16-year-old son before Dover’s Fourth of July parade.
    Benner claimed Flowers had harassed her over the phone after the incident. She then filed a follow-up report on Aug. 7, claiming Flowers was continuing to contact her against her wishes.
    Dover Police Department spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said detectives subpoenaed phone records from both parties and determined their contact had been mutual.
    “We worked with the Dover Police and other law enforcement officials to present a complete picture,” Hoffman said Wednesday, soon after the Dover Police Department announced that no charges would be filed against Flowers. “Once that was presented, it was clear Ms. Benner had never been harassed.”
    Hoffman said detectives had no luck in getting Benner to come to police headquarters for an interview.
    “Dover police made numerous attempts to contact Ms. Benner, but efforts to reach her for the investigation were unsuccessful,” he said. “However, having reviewed the phone records, we’re certain we’ve made the right determination.”
    Benner, who resigned her deputy treasurer post in August 2013 amid allegations that she misused a state credit card, did not return multiple messages seeking comment about Wednesday’s announcement.
    Flowers, meanwhile, said he knew all along that his name would be cleared.
    “I always knew her claims to the Dover police were false and that she had presented only a small part of the story,” he said.
    Flowers, who had been running for a second term as state treasurer when Benner filed her complaint, dropped out of the race on Aug. 15.
    During a press conference to announce his withdraw, Flowers categorized accusations against him as “lies.”
    Flowers said it was suspicious Benner would contact law police less than two months before a primary election, which he said he would have won if it weren’t for Benner’s allegations.
    “I hope this serves as a strong warning to any individual or political campaign that seeks to resolve political disagreements by using our legal system that this should never happen again,” he said.
    Now back on the job for the remainder of his term, Flowers said he plans to put the episode behind him.
    “My fiancée and I can move forward now and start a new chapter in our lives,” he said.

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