Four of the Duggar girls, Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy-Anna Duggar, have filed a lawsuit against the City of Springdale, Arkansas as well as In Touch Weekly for leaking information about their molestation as children. The city has responded, calling the lawsuit “misguided,” accusing the girls of the Duggar mega-clan of “cash grabbing.”
A scandal erupted in 2015 when it was publicly revealed that the girls’ older brother, Josh Duggar, had sexually molested five girls, including four of his own sisters. While the leaked police report from the City of Springdale published in the tabloids redacted the girls’ names because they were minors at the time, because they stated Josh Duggar’s sisters were his victims and listed their ages, it was very obvious which victims were affected. Because of this, the girls are understandably upset and feel as though it was something that the family wanted to handle privately.
The girls had spoken to investigators in 2006, with the understanding that their identity would not be revealed.
Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard were the only sisters to publicly speak about the molestation, both saying that they were shocked and upset that the information was spread in the way it was.
In Touch Weekly and the City of Springdale maintain that they obtained and published the information legally, but it is questionable why they were tipped off to it in the first place.
The have also accused the tabloid of “revictimizing” them and creating “sensationalist” tabloids that made their situation worse.
The lawyers for the sisters made a statement to USA Today about the suit.
“Revealing juvenile identities under these circumstances is unacceptable, and it’s against the law. The media and custodians of public records who let these children down must be held accountable.”
The City of Springdale has accused the girls of trying to “grab money” from public tax dollars, and maintains that the family knew about the Freedom of Information Act, which could potentially allow the records to be made public.
“It is unfortunate that now, at this late date, the Plaintiffs have chosen to file a misguided lawsuit against dedicated public servants and seeking damages from public tax dollars,” they stated.
Jill Dillard has spoken out about the lawsuit on her social media, stating that she just wants victims to be protected and that they hope the suit sets a precedent to not allow other children who are in the public eye to have such sensitive information about themselves revealed.
We hope our lawsuit will send a clear message that releasing the names of juveniles is never ok.https://t.co/b6gGUuAu5B
— Jill (Duggar)Dillard (@jillmdillard) May 19, 2017
Jill Dillard has been blasted on Twitter for their attempt to sue, with people asking whether they would be donating the proceeds or telling them that they are just looking for attention.
The four girls, however, released a joint statement about the allegations from the City of Springdale that they are simply looking for extra cash.
“This case is solely about protecting children who are victims of abuse,” they stated.
They also said the hoped to protect other children, especially those in the public eye, from “reckless reporting” by journalists looking to sensationalize their pain for a story.
Some media outlets, such as the Huffington Post, have been skeptical of the lawsuit in general. They believe that the Duggar girls should sue their parents or their brother, not the City of Springdale, nor the tabloids for their reporting.
However, the family has dealt with the situation in the way they feel is best, even if others do not agree with it. At this point, it is their business how they wish to handle internal family matters and if the Duggar girls wish to continue a relationship with their brother or parents in light of these events.
[Featured Image by Jill Duggar Dillard/Instagram]