As Duggars attend the Institute in Basic Life Principles family conference in Texas, news of the religious organization’s base in Australia going up for sale is doing the rounds.
According to news reports from Down Under, IBLP is seeking buyers for its $4.4 million property located in Lilydale suburb of Melbourne. The 3.36-hectare estate is a “developer’s dream,” according to its sales listing, with expansive American-style apartments and homes, the Herald Sun reports. It also is home to a branch of the organization’s homeschooling program Advanced Training Institute (ATI), which Josh Duggar had attended in Little Rock, Arkansas, after he abused his sisters as a teenager. The institute is reportedly selling its property to buy a smaller estate.
The Duggars and other Quiverfull families have been adherents of IBLP’s programs, including its controversial homeschooling curriculum that has been seen in poor light ever since news of Josh Duggar’s misbehavior surfaced two years ago. According to many reports, the curriculum provided by ATI points to immodest dressing and allegedly question’s the victims role in leading to abuse.
IBLP’s founder, Bill Gothard, was sued in 2015 for sexual abuse by women formerly associated with the organization, forcing him to step down. According to news reports from the time, the lawsuit reportedly sought creation of a trust to prevent the institute’s management from liquidating assets.
“The lawsuit further charges that IBLP is seeking to liquidate its sizeable real estate assets, now located in seven states (the organization’s most recent tax return values these holdings at nearly $80 million),” the Washington Post had reported. “Gibbs also said the organization is seeking to relocate its headquarters to Texas, where, he said, the courts are less aggressive than those in Illinois in handling sexual abuse cases.”
David Gibbs represented the plaintiffs.
The Duggar family’s association with IBLP has been widely reported; they are now in Big Sandy, attending conferences organized by the institute. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke about faith in time of crisis on Wednesday, and while the content of the session is yet to be known, from the event’s description, it is likely they may have broached their scandal-hit son.
“Raising 19 children is a big challenge; raising them for over 10 years while on reality TV is an even greater challenge. Trusting in the Lord for their family is something Jim Bob and Michelle have definitely experienced, both privately and publicly. The Duggars humbly share their joys and trials, desiring to minister to other families who desire God’s best, even when their lives take unexpected turns. Jim Bob and Michelle’s message is still the same: trust in the Lord.”
Josh Duggar made news in 2015 when his transgressions as a teenager became public; it was later revealed that four of the victims were his sisters. After he publicly apologized and stepped down from an executive position at the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbyist organization, his name cropped up in the Ashley Madison leaks. Josh confessed to cheating and entered a faith-based rehab program for sex addiction lasting six months until early last year. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar drew criticism after news of their daughters’ sexual abuse became public for sending Josh to ATI instead of reporting it.
Recent reports have claimed Josh continues to receive religious counseling. According to Radar Online, a family insider claimed the eldest Duggar child was not helpful with kids even as he awaits the arrival of his fifth child with wife Anna Duggar.
The Duggars kept the father-of-five out of limelight after the scandals broke, but since Jinger Duggar’s wedding last November, he has been seen more frequently with the family. Fans remarked about his appearance last month, suggesting that criticism and negative news, added by pressure of a growing family and lack of opportunities for television appearance in the near future, may be getting to him.
[Featured Image by Danny Johnston/AP Images]