An attorney for the city of Springdale, Arkansas pushed back this week against the Duggar family’s claim that the city illegally released a police report showing their eldest son was investigated for molesting five underage girls.
“The requested record was not sealed or expunged, and at the time the report was filed, the person listed in the report was an adult,” a statement issued Thursday by City Attorney Ernest Cate read, as quoted by local TV station KNWA. “Any names of minors included in the report, as well as pronouns, were redacted from the report by the Springdale Police Department in compliance with Arkansas law prior to release.”
Tabloid magazine In Touch obtained the 2006 police report through a state Freedom of Information Act request and published it last month. The molestation allegations in the report immediately sparked a media firestorm that prompted Josh Duggar, now a 27-year-old conservative activist, to resign from his position at the helm of the Family Research Council’s lobbying shop. TLC, the network that airs the family’s reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting,” also pulled all reruns of the program from the air.
The police report was heavily blurred out and did not contain the names of Josh Duggar or any of his alleged victims, although visible parts of the report made references to suggest that some of the alleged victims were his sisters. Parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar confirmed Wednesday night in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Josh’s alleged victims included four of his sisters and a babysitter.
The alleged acts of molestation occurred from 2002-2003, when Josh Duggar was 14-15 years old. Josh Duggar had already turned 18 by the time a police report was filed in December 2006.
But the Duggar family made what they saw as the illegal release of the police report a focal point in their two-part interview with Kelly, who’d made it clear that she agreed with their position on the issue. Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald, who said they were two of their brother’s alleged victims, criticized In Touch as a magazine that was “used to exploiting women.”
Dillard in particular broke down in tears when discussing the impact the report’s release had on her family.
“I called my husband and I was in tears,” Dillard told Megyn Kelly. “I couldn’t
believe what was going on. … It was whenever I heard the police report was being released, and I said, ‘What? Like they don’t have a right to do this. We’re victims. They can’t do this to us.'”
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar separately told Fox News that they believed In Touch may have bribed city officials to obtain the report. They also suggested that the chief of the Springdale Police Department was intent on exposing their family before she retired.
The Duggar’s belief that the police report was illegally released is just one of several inconsistencies in their interview with Fox News that invite further scrutiny.