Josh Duggar’s (nonfamily) sex abuse victim intends to file lawsuit against him.
Recent news reports claim that Josh Duggar, son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who was reported to have sexually abused five children as a young teen, will be facing a civil lawsuit filed by the non-related victim. It should be noted that Duggar confessed to the crimes, but the Statute of Limitations had expired, so he was not criminally charged.
There are still many questions surrounding this case. Who knew what and when? What did pastors know? What did they do? How much did his parents know? How did they respond? How was this case handled by people close to the Duggar family? What safeguards were in place? What specific counseling did Josh and the victims receive?
InTouch’s article included this important information which could certainly be helpful for us to understand how this abuse was covered up by people who should have reported:
The shocking development means that Josh and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle could be forced to give depositions and testify about Josh’s molestation scandal. The Duggars likely will have to answer every question as they will not be able to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because the criminal statute of limitations has expired.
While the Statute of Limitations expired for Duggar to be tried criminally, Arkansas has a state law which allows for a civil lawsuit to be filed by victims after the Statute of Limitations have expired, even many years later: 1
6-56-130. Civil actions based on sexual abuse.
(a) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations or any other provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set forth in this section, any civil action based on sexual abuse which occurred when the injured person was a minor but is not discovered until after the injured person reaches the age of majority shall be brought within three (3) years from the time of discovery of the sexual abuse by the injured party. (Read more info about the law here: Source)
This case is especially noteworthy because of the pattern of mishandling of sex abuse we’ve been seeing in the Homeschool Movement, a subculture in which families adhere to such ideologies as Patriarchy, Quiverfull (Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family has 19 children), emphasis on purity teachings, courtship, etc. Here are some other notable cases of sexual abuse mishandling, all closely connected to the Homeschool Movement:
- Bill Gothard, a popular Christian leader was forced to step down from his position at Institute for Basic Life Principles after allegations of sexual grooming by dozens of women. The Duggar family highly respect Mr. Gothard and also used his ATI homeschool curricula for their family. The Duggars are currently scheduled to speak at ATI/IBLP events.
- Doug Phillips was forced to step down from his position at the popular Christian homeschool company, Vision Forum, after it was discovered he had an inappropriate relationship with the family’s former nanny, Lourdes Torres. He is currently in the middle of a civil lawsuit. Lourdes Torres, Alleged Victim in the Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) Sex Abuse Scandals Files Lawsuit
- The Jackson Family case – Six brothers from a large homeschool family were arrested for allegedly sexually violating their younger sister for 10 years. Parents, John and Nita Jackson, were also charged for failing to report. Two of the brothers were members of Scott Brown’s (NCFIC) Hope Bible Church (Scott Brown is a leader in the Homeschool Movement). Six Homeschool Brothers Arrested for Alleged Sex Abuse against Younger Sister
- A homeschooled girl is sexually abused by a Peninsula Household of Faith Community Church elder’s son, Patrick Rojas (WA state). This church is primarily homeschool families. Dee of Wartburg Watch covered this story and I later spoke with the mother, Danielle. Pedophilia and Deception at a Household of Faith Community Church
Having been involved in the Homeschool Movement for many years (and a homeschool mom for 23 years), I have had a growing concern about abuse victims who have slipped through the cracks because parents and church leaders have failed to report crimes. The pattern I have observed is some parents/church leaders think it is their Christian responsibility to deal with the sins involved, but fail to follow through with their civil responsibilities in reporting crimes.
The Homeschool Movement includes families who are anti-government, and because of this, children who are abused may not get appropriate protection they need. Additionally, these groups tend to be strongly against mental health and so their counseling might consist of only approved Biblical or Nouthetic counseling, if that. Many times victims do not get appropriate counsel by licensed therapists/counselors who are trained to handle sex abuse cases.
I am very sad about this Duggar case and am grieved that some of the victims have been named publicly and did not choose to have their story made public. However, because of Duggar’s celebrity-like status, the handling of Josh Duggar’s case will continue to be in the public spotlight. This is important because the Homeschool Movement must learn from their mistakes and take appropriate measures to protect and defend abused children.
Updated to add this important and recent video of Boz Tchividjian, discussing this case and sex abuse, how to respond appropriately, etc.