Duggars Sue In Touch Over Molestation Stories
The Duggars are suing In Touch over stories the tabloid published about the family’s molestation case. The lawsuit was filed against the magazine, as well as city, county and police officials in Arkansas, by sisters Jessa, Jill, Joy and Jinger Duggar.
As Gossip Cop has reported, In Touch broke the news in May 2015 that the girls’ older brother, Josh, had molested underage girls when he was a teen. The publication’s stories were largely based on legal documents obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act. It later emerged that Josh’s minor victims were his own sisters, as well as a babysitter. The fallout from the scandal eventually led to the cancellation of the family’s TLC reality show, “19 & Counting,” though the sisters now star on a spinoff called “Counting On.”
Now, nearly two years after news of the old case first surfaced, Jessa, Jill, Joy and Jinger are suing Bauer Media, the publisher of In Touch, in addition to police and city attorneys in Springdale, Arkansas, as well as Washington county officials. The lawsuit claims all parties violated the sisters’ right to privacy by divulging information about the legal matter, since the victims were of minor age.
The suit asserts the family had given statements to police and Child Services in 2006 with the understanding that they would be kept confidential given their age. Now the siblings are arguing that they were further victimized by In Touch seeking and obtaining the legal reports, and by the officials who provided them. They point to an Arkansas law that reportedly maintains information about child sex cases involving juveniles cannot be publicly disclosed. That said, closed cases in which the victims’ names are redacted and the offender is no longer a minor are typically exempt from that prohibition.
In Touch has not responded yet to the lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ. But the tabloid previously defended its reporting, saying it acted in accordance with the Freedom Of Information Act, whereby city attorneys reviewed and approved the request to release the material, and only published the redacted legal documents after Josh was of legal age. And the magazine’s initial articles did not name his victims. It was Jessa and Jill who later confirmed in an interview that they were among the victimized parties. Until then, the identities of the victims weren’t publicly unknown.
But in the interview, a crying Jill slammed In Touch for publishing the family’s sordid history. “We didn’t choose to come out and tell our stories,” she asserted, later saying through tears, “We’re victims. They can’t do this to us. I see it as a re-victimization that’s a thousand times worse.” The girls’ parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, similarly said their kids were “violated” by the magazine’s stories. Now the family is apparently hoping a court will agree, and award them damages.