There’s an update on matters in the Duggar family’s lawsuit — or, more specifically, the lawsuit Jinger Vuolo, Jessa Seewald, Joy Forsyth, and Jill Dillard filed against their county in Arkansas, and county employees, among other entities. A filing in court Monday reflects that the four sisters want to be certain that individuals employed by the county are held responsible for releasing a police report regarding the family, in which the Duggar children detail molestations they say were carried out by Josh Duggar on five underage victims.
The Duggar sisters’ lawsuit claims intent: that the defendants meant to “intrude upon…solitude and seclusion,” to disregard privacy, knowing that this would cause the Duggar family harm and emotional damage. They allege that Major Hoyt, among others, knew he was violating a promise of privacy.
The full lawsuit can be read here, in PDF form hosted by Arkansas Times.
However, Washington County, one of the named defendants in the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit, has filed a request to be removed from the case. The motion asserts that Major Rick Hoyt, of the Washington County Sheriff’s office, and Steve Zega, the former county attorney, should also be removed from the case because they were acting as agents of the county, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported earlier this month.
Washington County, Zega, and Hoyt aren’t the only defendants (of nearly two dozen named, including 10 ‘does’) who have responded to the Duggar family’s lawsuit. Kathy O’Kelley, Police Chief of Springdale, Arkansas, has also called for the lawsuit to be thrown out, reasserting that all appropriate authorities, including the Washington County Juvenile Prosecuting Attorney and Department of Human Services, had been contacted before the decision was made to release Josh Duggar’s police report. Radar Online reports that Springdale city officials also point out they redacted the Duggar sisters’ identities in the report, and that because of the Duggar family’s notoriety, the contents of the report may be a matter of public concern.
The court has already declined to throw the lawsuit out, and as of Monday, the Duggar sisters are asking for the requests by Washington County, Major Rick Hoyt, and Steve Vega, to be denied. The Duggar family’s response, according to the Democrat Gazette, suggests these individuals and the county do not have immunity because the Duggar family is asserting that they acted intentionally, rather than neglectfully, and knew they were violating a right to privacy.
According to Salon, the family has gone further in previous claims, suggesting that perhaps officials accepted a bribe.
The Duggar family has been on television since 14 Children and Pregnant Again first aired in 2004, a year after Josh Duggar reportedly began the series of molestations. 19 Kids & Counting began airing as a series in 2008, two years after the Duggar family spoke to police for the report in question. Aside from their television publicity, Josh Duggar has been a public face for a conservative political lobbying agency.
Jill Duggar Dillard has said that she believes this lawsuit will protect other victims’ privacy.
Though names were redacted in the report, Jill and her sister, Jessa Duggar Seewald, gave an interview afterward, naming themselves as victims and saying they had forgiven their brother.
Josh Duggar has also filed his own lawsuit, in which he asserts that the events surrounding molestation of five young girls, including his sisters, were traumatic for him, and that the release of the police record, besides costing him employment and income, has forced him to relive those events and caused emotional harm.
The Duggar family’s lawsuit is expected to move forward in September, according to documents obtained by the Pickles & Hairspray Facebook page, which has previously located information about the family before it was released officially.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family/Instagram]