Evidence of Duggar family child endangerment, maltreatment, and abuse surfaces as a civil suit is planned by Josh Duggar's molestation victim. On the heels of a possible lawsuit, the living conditions inside the Duggar family home may implicate parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who could also be named in the suit.
When news broke last month by In Touch magazine that attorneys representing a non-family victim are preparing a lawsuit, evidence supports that the Duggar family fortune may be at stake. The young woman was a minor when she visited the Duggar family home, where she allegedly endured sexual contact by forcible compulsion at the hands of Josh Duggar.
The actions and inactions of the parents in the years 2002 and 2003 will be scrutinized and witnesses will be required to testify. Much can be made of the environment in which they raised their children at the time.
In police interviews of four of Josh Duggar's sisters, who were also sexual attack victims, all four girls stated that the house where the crimes allegedly took place was on Johnson Road in Springdale, AR. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar also confirmed this during their police interrogations. (Son and perpetrator Josh refused to be questioned by police.)
The Duggar family moved into the home in March, 1993. At that time there were five children sharing two bedrooms. When the Discovery Health Channel began to film reality TV documentaries about the family, there were 14 children in the Johnson Street home and their mother Michelle was pregnant. This coincides with the years 2002 and 2003, which is the time of the known sexual molestation, according to the police reports. The family remained in the Johnson Street home, with cameras still rolling, throughout 2004, the year the first hour-long TV special aired.
A series of three shows were filmed by the network which documented the family's living conditions: 14 Children and Pregnant Again!, Raising 16 Children, and 16 Children and Moving In. The main stage for the three scripted reality shows was the Johnson Road house of horrors, where 16 to 18 people lived in a 2,400-square-foot home built for a family of four to six.
Interestingly, Josh Duggar describes the sleeping arrangements in one of the TV shows.
"You try cramming 18 people into three tiny bedrooms with only two baths. There wasn't even room to fit enough beds. There wasn't even enough space for all of us to have our own beds."How did the ten brothers, five sisters, and a baby divide up into two bedrooms at night? Boys and girls slept in the same bedroom together and they even shared the same beds together.
The reality series narrator describes the cramped quarters.
"The small house where the Duggars currently live might seem crowded with half the people. With only two bathrooms and one standard size, residential water heater, the potential problems are obvious."Daughter Jessa Duggar is filmed describing the daily panic and anxiety the children endured due to the lack of inadequate housing provided by their parents.
"Probably the hardest thing about living in this house is that it only has two bathrooms. There's always a line – probably like three or four people going running back from bathroom to bathroom, knocking on every door saying 'Hurry, hurry, hurry! I've got to go to the bathroom. Hurry, hurry, hurry!'"Jinger Duggar complained, too.
"Trying to brush your teeth and everything is just really hard."Josh Duggar is caught on tape disclosing the unhealthy situation in the Duggar family home.
"Getting showers is just virtually impossible. We literally had to write out a schedule: OK, you get a bath on Monday and you get a bath on Tuesday. We've got just one washer and dryer... up to ten loads a day."The small hot water heater was inadequate for daily washing dishes, doing laundry, bathing, and for sanitary hand washing and diaper changing. The reality show narrator confirmed that the Duggar parents provided inadequate housing for their children.
"With only three small bedrooms, two bathrooms and a tiny kitchen, this was not a house for 18 people."Cramming that many people into a house that small is also against the law and violated Springdale city ordinances. Occupancy limitations are listed on building permits for all of the city's residential dwellings. The permits outline the maximum number of people allowed to live in a residence. The laws also prescribe the minimum amount of square footage necessary for each occupant of a bedroom. Did Michelle and Jim Bob know they were breaking the law? Absolutely, they did. Both were licensed real estate agents and Jim Bob was a fourth-generation real estate professional. Understanding occupancy laws is necessary to pass the examination to become an Arkansas real estate agent.
The home situation also violated Arkansas criminal laws as a failure or refusal to provide shelter necessary for a child's well-being. Under Code § 12-18-103 of the Maltreatment Act, this is child neglect for "failure or inability to provide for the essential and necessary physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child, including the failure to provide a shelter that does not pose a risk to the health or safety of the child."
Under Arkansas law, "It is not considered neglect when the failure to provide appropriate care is caused primarily by the financial inability of the person legally responsible, and no services for relief have been offered." Did the Duggars have the financial ability to provide for their children? Yes, according to Jim Bob Duggar who boasted about being a millionaire when he ran for the office of U.S. Senator. And the assets were not all bound up in non-liquid real estate. He plunked down $250 thousand dollars in cold cash to finance an egotistical and hopeless run against an incumbent in the Arkansas Republican primary election held in May, 2002, the year the known sexual abuse by Josh Duggar began in the family's home.
Duggar lost his megalomaniac campaign in the primaries, garnering only five percent of the votes. The money, which could have purchased a huge family home in Northwest Arkansas in 2002, was squandered. Duggar, who referred to his family as his "hobby," was proud of his miserly attitude about providing for his children. He was filmed by the Discovery Health Channel smugly declaring that he always forced his children to wear second-hand shoes.
"We get 'em for $1.50 or $2 a pair and so we can buy shoes for our whole family for what most people spend on just one pair of shoes."
The deliberate failure to provide adequate housing for the children was a contributory factor in the sexual abuse within the Duggar family home in 2002 and 2003. According to research conducted by Susan J. Zuravin (MSW and PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore), overcrowding is found in 22 percent of cases of child sexual abuse.
The late Dr. John B. Calhoun proved that physical congestion produces stress, alienation, hostility, sexual perversion, and parental incompetence. He called this meltdown behavioral sink and referred to it as spiritual death. His experiments showed that overcrowding produces sexual deviation and destroys the natural parental instinct to care for one's offspring.
Although that might explain how the conditions were ripe for sexual abuse in the Duggar family, it doesn't explain why Jim Bob and Michelle refused to address their son's sexual attacks upon his younger sisters when they said they were first made aware in March, 2002.
For one thing, the primary election for Jim Bob's campaign for U.S. senator was two months away. (Jim Bob made the fantastic claim that he was ''called by God'' to run for that office. Apparently there was never a "call by God" for Jim Bob to adequately care for his children.) Perhaps he didn't want to risk his reputation by seeking outside help for his sexually abused children and for their abuser.
Another reason might be that if the authorities were involved, he and Michelle would lose the right to homeschool their children if Josh remained living in the household. Jim Bob should have known about that law; he was one of its sponsors and helped to get the bill passed in 2001 as an Arkansas State Representative.
Yet another reason was that he and Michelle were in the midst of planning their reality TV specials with the Discovery Health Channel and the absence of the oldest son would be glaring. This is not to mention the possibility that the Department of Human Services might have removed all of the children from the Duggar home until the parents could provide adequate housing and adult supervision for them.
For whatever their reasons were, their parental failures allowed the abuse of their daughters to continue and to escalate for more than a year until Josh sexually attacked the non-family member who is now in the process of litigation as a result.
If the case against the Duggar family goes to trial, it will be up to a jury to decide if Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are guilty of failing to protect a minor girl, visiting in their home, from their son ─ whom they knew was a sexual predator, molester and pedophile.
Is there a case against the parents? Please add to the discussion by leaving a comment below.