I noted earlier that Joseph Hutchens, the former Arkansas State Trooper now serving a lengthy child porn sentence, says that Jim Bob Duggar dramatically underplayed the scope and scale of son Josh Duggar’s instances of molestation when he brought Josh to talk to Hutchens in 2003. Now, though, In Touch Weekly is reporting that in 2007, when Josh Dugger was 19 he sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services to prevent them from making a finding against him or possibly to prevent on-going monitoring of his interactions with his sisters.
I’m writing this here in the Editor’s Blog because In Touch Weekly‘s reporting on this seems thinly sourced and, let’s be honest, In Touch Weekly is not where we normally go for industry standard reporting. But given their reporting to date on this story, actually breaking this story, I think this is an important development in the story.
Let’s review. According to this report, when local police decided that no crime had been committed within the three year statute of limitations, they nonetheless referred the case to Arkansas’s Families in Need of Services agency. The FNS has a different charge – not criminal culpability but protecting the welfare of children in the state. In other words, the statute of limitations wouldn’t be relevant to their ability or charge to monitor Josh Duggar since he was still living in the Duggar home with his younger sisters.
So a bit less than a year after an anonymous tipster put in motion the chain of events that led to the actual police investigation in 2006, Josh Duggar apparently sued the state to block something the state DHS was doing. This was around the time that the Duggar family reality show was moving into production for its first season in 2008.
Josh Duggar was apparently successful in his legal action. According to the report, the records of the lawsuit as well as the documentation which the suit was over are both sealed.
As I said, I want to put a caveat over this report for now. The other reports from In Touch were based on official government documents or on the record interviews. This report seems to be based on anonymous sources. But such a suit, I think, dramatically changes the story we’ve known to date. It goes from a series of incidents that had apparently stopped when Duggar was 15 to an affirmative effort on Duggar’s part, at 19, to block the state of Arkansas from either making findings about Duggar’s behavior or acting to protect his minor sisters.