Duggar sisters sue city, InTouch Weekly over breach of privacy

Candice Alexander
May 19, 2017

Jill, Jessa, Jinger and Joy filed the suit against the city of Springdale, Arkansas over the 2015 police documents. At the time they were told only police and child welfare officers would have access to their files.

Four relatives tied to a sexual-abuse investigation into Josh Duggar are suing authorities in Arkansas as well as a magazine publisher, claiming that they improperly released sensitive information. According to the stories, the sisters' older brother, Josh, had molested underage girls when he was a teenager.

Plaintiffs include the city of Springdale, Washington County, former Springdale Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley, Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate, Rick Hoyt with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, former Washington County Attorney Steve Zega and Bauer Media Group, which published In Touch magazine and related social media sites. But in 2015, In Touch magazine filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) act request and obtained the police documents. They allege that the city and county breached that promise when documents were released to the magazine containing enough information to identify the sisters. But under Arkansas laws, the police are apparently forbidden from divulging any information about sexual misconduct involving children.

The four were among the "19 Kids and Counting" on the TLC reality show that chronicled the personal life of Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

The sisters say they were further victimized by all the scrutiny of their family after In Touch's report was published. But Jill Duggar rejected In Touch's claim that it was the sisters who revealed they were among the victims in the molestation case. In a statement, the Duggar family has said they're only suing now to "protect all children who are victims of abuse". Not only was their show 19 Kids And Counting canceled, but the whole scandal totally overshadowed Jessa's one and only wedding. Ugh!

It's been nearly two years since news of Josh Duggar's molestation scandal broke, and the Duggar family still hasn't quite recovered. "We're victims. They can't do this to us".

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