When reports surfaced that Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the 19 Kids and Counting Duggar family, had molested five underage girls, matriarch Michelle and patriarch Jim Bob Duggar defended themselves by revealing that after they learned several of their daughters had been molested by Josh, they made sure he received treatment. Since then, two of the sisters molested by Josh (Jill and Jessa Duggar) have stepped forward to self-identify that they were among their brother’s victims.
But just what treatment did Josh receive that allegedly “cured him” prior to his own confessions that he had recently used the Ashley Madison website for infidelity to cheat on his wife, Anna, and become addicted to porn? Duggar was treated at the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which is now being rocked by a lawsuit and claims of sexual abuse, reported the Wrap.
Five women are suing the ministry linked to Josh’s treatment. They allege that the organization hid what they describe as sexual abuse at the institute. Included in the lawsuit that the women filed are six directors of the organization plus the Institute in Basic Life Principles itself.
The individuals are listed as employees, interns, or participants in the program.
“[These women] were the victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/ unauthorized touching, many times while they were minors,” according to the lawsuit. “[The directors] were aware or should have been aware of serious allegations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching.”
Moreover, the lawsuit claims that the directors often got reports that the alleged sex abuse and molestation were occurring, but the officials took no action until, following years of such reports and claims, the institute began an investigation internally.
But the lawsuit also alleges that the investigation consisted only of having the institute give money to a group that was not qualified, and that the supposed investigation did not achieve anything other than to help hide what was happening.
“[The investigation was] pre-ordained and nothing more than a cover-up of the allegations,” according to the lawsuit.
The institute’s subsequent statement on the matter was slanderous, claim the women who filed the lawsuit.
“[It] effectively slandered and disavowed the damaged victims of that abuse, including the Plaintiffs.”
The women who filed are asking for damages of or more than $50,000.
For Josh and the Duggar family, what does this mean? Michelle and Jim Bob were members of the institute and used the organization’s homeschooling program in bringing up their own children, according to Alternet.
The founder of the institute, who also is its former director, Bill Gothard, previously was put on administrative leave following accusations that he also sexually abused staff and harassed them.
But what is known about the treatment that Josh received after the Duggar learned their oldest son had molested five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters? Michelle and Jim Bob sent Josh to the Institute in Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to People.
“[The Institute seeks to] strengthen individuals and families through sound Biblical teachings and character development opportunities and to demonstrate Christ’s love through serving,” according to its website.
Jim Bob subsequently reported to police that he sent his son there beginning March 17, 2003, and ending July 17, 2003.
But that organization, in addition to the new claims emerging from the lawsuit, has been criticized for a variety of reasons for its methodology.
The center is “appalling,” according to John Krull, Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
“[The Institute is a] shadow world, where these kids almost disappear,” added Krull.
In addition, the institute was the focus of a previous investigation by Child Protective Services.
But Jim Bob and Michelle have believed strongly in the lessons that the institute and its leaders provided for years, and that’s why they chose to have their son go there rather than, initially, alert authorities about the molestation. Their homeschooling program follows that of the Advanced Training Institute, with which Gothard and the institute are linked.
Among the ATI homeschooling classes is a section on what to do if sexual abuse occurs in the family.
“Lessons From Moral Failures in a Family,” is the chapter title.
“[If] an older brother was guilty of sexually abusing younger ones in his family, [he should be asked] ‘What teaching could have been given to each child to resist evil?’ [and] ‘What factors in the home contributed to immodesty and temptation?'”
Moreover, the Duggar homeschooling lessons offer cautions about the possible scandal that could result from such a situation.
“The damage to the younger children, the ridicule to the cause of Christ, the shame of detailed publicity, and the scars to the life and reputation of the boy were indescribably painful to the family and their friends.”
[Image via Josh Duggar/Twitter]