Two years ago, the Duggar family was the center of public scandal when police documents were released showing that the oldest sibling had molested several of his younger sisters, as well as at least one person outside the family. However, that was the barest beginning of what would proceed to be two years of public scrutiny. Though the names of the victims in the account were redacted, along with other identifying information, the family’s response included massive amounts of publicity, public statements, and interviews. Now, they’re suing the city’s police over that publicity, saying that the record release was illegal.
The City of Springdale has responded with a very strongly worded statement, describing the lawsuit as a case of the Duggar sisters “seeking….taxpayer dollars.”
The Duggar family has made numerous public statements regarding the whole series of events, especially in the first few months. However, these closely scrutinized statements were picked apart by the viewers, who found a series of contradictions in them. For instance, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar asserted that one way they protected the kids after learning of the molestation was by forbidding little girls to sit on the laps of any male except their father. Viewers quickly skimmed clips and photos and located not only instances of little Duggar girls sitting on the laps of males, but specifically numerous instances in which younger sisters are sitting on Josh’s lap as well.
Two of the sisters, Jessa Duggar Seewald and Jill Duggar Dillard, gave a public interview in which they expressed that they and the other sisters had forgiven Josh, and that everything had been fine until it was uncovered. However, Gawker found information on the Duggar family’s homeschooling curriculum created through the ministries of Bill Gothard (also accused of sexually abusing young women and girls) — including that the victims are blamed for their own assaults and told that they must forgive if they hope to find favor with God. Failing to forgive is treated as a sin equal to or greater than the attacks themselves.
A short time later, a Duggar who was still a minor petitioned the court to destroy the records, according to Hollywood Life. The report that a minor victim had petitioned the court indicated that a victim who was still a minor existed — a decade later. This again drew significant attention to the family, with viewers discussing the effect the destruction of the record would have for the Duggar household, with the information already publicly shared online.
Now four Duggar sisters (Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, and Joy Duggar) have filed a lawsuit against the Springdale Police Department, according to TMZ, with all four sisters in the suit named as victims. Until now, the only names that had been made public were of Jill and Jessa, who named themselves as victims in a series of statements shortly after the records’ release.
The City of Springdale has responded to the lawsuit with a strongly worded public statement, in which they dismiss the notion that anything illegal was done in the release, and assert that the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit is frivolous and money-seeking. NWA Homepage has the full letter, which reads in part
“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.”
The statement further reiterates what Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said two years ago: the Duggar family’s claim that they didn’t know the records were to be released until the news was published is false.
[T]he city made the family aware of the Freedom of Information Act Request for the police report and kept the family regularly informed of the status of the request…
5NewsOnline has the full original statement by the Springdale mayor, which also notes that the police department consulted not only with the city’s own attorney, but with multiple other agencies as well before releasing the police report detailing the incidents in the Duggar family home.
“…the Arkansas Municipal League, the Arkansas State Police, the Washington County Juvenile Prosecuting Attorney within the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office….”
The new statement from the City of Springdale declares the official position that this due diligence indicates the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit is without merit, and that the police department acted in accordance with law.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family/Instagram]