Four Duggar sisters have taken legal action in response to their brother, Josh Duggar’s molestation scandal which the Duggar folks sought to cover up in the past years. Jill Duggar-Dillard, along with sisters Jessa, Jinger and Joy-Anna, have submitted a federal breach-of-privacy lawsuit against In Touch as well as the Arkansas law enforcement through a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015.
Certain state law enforcement members released police documents concerning Josh’s molestation scandal to the magazine. The documents stated that Josh Duggar had molested underage girls during his teenage years; his victims included some of his sisters, such as Jill and Jessa- an issue that parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had already known about. A spokesperson for Springdale commented in a statement released to the press that the Duggars’ accusations are “without merit and are false."
According to the Duggar sisters, they were assured that their statements would remain private and confidential after speaking to investigators in when they were still minors in 2006. The lawsuit states that the four sisters are seeking “compensatory and punitive damages” against the Arkansas city of Springdale, Arkansas’ Washington County, members of the Springdale Police Department and In Touch. They have alleged that they had been “re-victimized” because of the uncalled-for release of police documents containing “cosmetic redactions” that allowed them to be determined as older brother Joh’s victims.
On the other hand, In Touch did not exactly point out Josh’s victims by their names. During an interview on “The Kelly File” with Megyn Kelly, it had been Jill and Jessa who identified themselves as two of their brother’s underage victims. Through the filing of the lawsuit, recently-married Jinger and Joy-Anna also identified themselves as victims. The fifth victim, however, has not been specified, as noted by Huffington Post.
However, the Duggar sisters are claiming that because their parents’ names were not censored, In Touch clearly pointed out that Jill and her sisters had been the victims. They are claiming that, because of the magazine’s report, the Duggar sisters have been “subjected to spiteful and harsh comments and harassment” online from critics who have disapproved their personal decision to forgive their older brother.
In addition, Jill and her siblings are alleging that InTouch made use of “sensationalized headlines to lure readers into salacious stories and exploited [their] pain and suffering.” As such, the news outlet is being accused of scandalizing the Duggar sisters’ experiences as victims of their brother’s molestation.
During the time when the In Touch story was published, the Duggar sisters were being featured on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” which started to follow the Duggar family in 2008 and went on to become the network’s highest-rated reality TV show in 2014.
In an interview with USA Today, the Duggar sisters’ lawyers said the case “is solely about protecting children who are victims of abuse.” “Revealing juvenile identities under these circumstances is unacceptable, and it’s against the law. The media and custodians of public records who let these children down must be held accountable,” they explained.
When the family’s reality show was cancelled, the Duggar sisters remained to be featured in the network. They took part in TLC’s documentary about sexual abuse titled “Breaking the Silence.” Since then, the sisters and the rest of the Duggar family returned to reality TV with their family spinoff titled “Jill and Jessa: Counting On.”