The Duggars’ family mentor, Bill Gothard, is the target of a lawsuit recently filed by 10 women. The lawsuit charges Gothard and other leaders in his ministry with sex crimes including sexual abuse, harassment, and cover-up, according to a report from the Washington Post. Gothard himself is charged with raping a woman who also reports that she was raped by other counselors in the Institute in Basic Life Principles ministry. Gothard ran the IBLP until accusations of sex crimes by over 30 women in 2014. Some of the 30 women were minors.
The lawsuit includes an affidavit signed by the Duggars mentor in which he condemns the IBLP’s handling of the case, saying as follows.
“… [they are] handling the case unwisely as I have the information they need. This is a shameful waste of donors money… I assume that the IBLP Board thought that the plaintiffs and their counsel were bluffing and that they would not sue. Obviously that is not the case.”
The Duggars’ oldest son, Josh, was in the headlines last year after he admitted to sexually abusing four of his younger sisters and a family friend. Jim Bob, patriarch of the Duggars, reported at that time that Josh went to Gothard’s ministry for Christian treatment for his sexual struggles. That treatment reportedly included manual labor and counseling. He also reported Josh’s sexual misconduct to former Arkansas state trooper Joseph Truman Hutchens, who advised him that the steps the Duggars had already taken were sufficient and that nothing more needed to be done. Hutchens is currently serving 56 years on child pornography charges.
The Duggars’ son, Joshua, is currently in a Christian rehab center, Reformers Unanimous. The rehab has strong ties to IBLP and encourages patients to consult the Bible instead receiving treatment from psychotherapists. He is receiving treatment for sex addiction. Dan Parson, practitioner and teacher of the North Love Church that founded the center, told Radar Online the following.
“All staff members and deacons in [North Love] church were required to attend Bill Gothard’s seminars,” Parsons, who worked as a teacher in North Love Christian School for three years before eventually leaving the church, exclusively told Radar. “The church very much supported him.”
Josh has also admitted to cheating on his wife and having a sexual encounter with porn star Danica Dillon.
Gothard’s conservative teachings were the foundation upon which the Duggars built the family and life for which they are known. He was an outspoken supporter of homeschooling and teaches that dating is dangerous and that fathers should be very involved in the courtships children should have instead. The Duggars have raised their 19 children on these teachings, as well as others like avoiding rock music, the mother not working outside the home, and teaching their daughters to dress in a way that will not create sexual temptation for men. Gothard also encourages large families, but has never been married himself.
Josh served as Executive Director of the FRC Action, a non-profit lobbying pact sponsored by the Family Research Council. He has also worked as a car salesman.
19 Kids and Counting ran on TLC from 2008 to 2015 and included nearly 200 episodes. The Duggar family and their ages includes mother and father, Michelle and Jim Bob (49 and 50 respectively); Duggar daughters Josie (6), Jennifer (8), Johannah (10), Joy-Anna (18), Jinger (22), Jessa (23), Jill (24), and Jana (age 25 and twin of John-David); and Duggar sons Jackson (11), Justin (13), James (14), Jason (15), Jedidiah (17), Jeremiah (17 and twin of Jedidiah), Josiah (19), Joseph (20), John-David (25 and twin of Jana), and Joshua (27); and Anna (age 27 and wife of Joshua since 2008). Anna has said she has no plans to divorce Josh, despite his personal struggles and legal issues.
[Photo by Institute in Basic Life Principles/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0]