Since sexual abuse allegations have been connected with both in the past year, Bill Gothard and the Duggars' relationship has been a matter of some public speculation. Gothard has also been associated with another reality show family, who frequently mingle with the Duggars: the Bates family, of Bringing Up Bates.
Now, with the latest allegations against Gothard and his ministry reaching new heights, some of these reality stars are speaking out.
Bates daughter Erin married Chad Pain in November of 2013, with, according to her family's website, Bill Gothard as a speaking guest. Also on the guest list? The Duggars.
Gil Bates, the father of 19, including Erin, and one of the stars of Bringing Up Bates, also sits on the board of the Institute for Basic Life Principles, which Gothard established, and was president of for years. However, among scandals and accusations, Bill Gothard's bio with the organization says he resigned his position in March of 2014.
The scandal has only grown -- Radar Online reports that there are now 18 plaintiffs, both male and female, accusing Bill Gothard and IBLP staff of covering up sexual crimes and abuses.
It's led a number of fans of the Duggars and the Bates family to speak out, asking the children of the families if they are safe and happy inside the strict religious sect.
In a sudden surprise turn of events, though, one of the Bates children responded. On her shared Instagram with husband Chad, Erin Paine recently responded to a weeks-old comment from a fan.
In short, the fan offered assistance escaping the sect, and Erin responded to say she isn't affiliated with Gothard or IBLP. She quickly clarified to say she only spoke for herself and her husband, after which her brother Lawson chimed in to give more information about his parents' connection to Bill Gothard -- only to receive a warning from his sister that he should keep his answers on his own page.
The screenshots below show the conversation between Erin Paine, Lawson Bates, and their fans, as carried out on the Instagram post here.
"We are not affiliated with the ministry or Mr. Gothard at all, nor do we support."In the shot below, Erin clarifies that she only speaks for herself and Chad, a follower questions Gothard's presence at the Paine wedding, and Lawson dishes out more information, saying that his father was unaware of the allegations when he joined the board of IBLP, though he also indicates that this occurred at about the same time Gothard resigned.
Asked to clarify whether the younger couples support IBLP and merely disavow Bill Gothard, or whether they have broken free of both, Lawson Bates responded,
"I don't support him or his ministry."
Whatever further clarifications may have followed, Erin shut them down, warning Lawson in a comment,
"Reply on your own page, Bro!"As for the Duggars and their relationship with Gothard, a number of aspects of this have been revealed over the past year -- such as the ATI (Advanced Training Institute, directly associated with Gothard and IBLP) homeschool curriculum the Duggars use, including a page explaining a female's duty to forgive -- and accept guilt for -- sexual abuse.
Of late, when it comes to IBLP, ATI, and Bill Gothard, the Duggars are remaining silent -- but as other conservative reality stars speak out, the pressure may soon be on for the family to also disavow Gothard.
[Image via TLC]