In June of this year, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna Duggar filed a lawsuit against those reportedly responsible for the release of information that identified them as the victims of Josh Duggar’s molestation scandal.
The lawsuit is aimed at officials from the city of Springdale, Arkansas, and Washington County for providing specific information pertaining to the molestation under a Freedom of Information Act request by the publisher of In Touch Weekly, which is also named in the suit.
The girls claim that as juveniles at the time of the abuse, their names should have never been given out and the subsequent release of their identities subjected them to “unwarranted public scrutiny,” as Dearly previously reported.
While city officials named in the case have asked that it be dismissed entirely, the Duggar girls are not going down without a fight — even if it means turning against Josh.
As Independent Journal Review previously reported, the Duggar Family confirmed the lawsuit on their blog, claiming the suit against Arkansas officials and In Touch Weekly for breach of privacy was a “fight for the protection of juvenile victims of child abuse.”
Josh Duggar raised eyebrows after he joined the sisters’ lawsuit, contending he was a victim in all this, too.
Josh claimed the release of the investigative reports pertaining to his molestation offenses caused mental and emotional distress and that he felt “victimized” as he had been “forced to relive the painful and difficult circumstances of a traumatic experience as a juvenile.”
Weeks later, however, Josh’s name was removed from the suit.
As Dearly reported at the time, an attorney for the Duggars, Gregory Payne, filed a motion to withdraw Josh Duggar’s name from the suit without explanation.
A motion of one sentence stated:
“Comes now, the intervening party, Josh Duggar, and upon further consideration hereby withdraws his motion to intervene.”
The Duggar family did not comment on Josh’s withdrawal from the suit, but the reason may now be known.
As E! News reports, according to court documents obtained by the outlet, a judge has been asked by the Duggar sisters to deny Josh’s request to join their lawsuit. Per E! News:
“Deciding claims based on protecting victims of sex crimes from disclosure, while at the same time, having those claims consolidated with the perpetrator of those crimes will be confusing to the jury,” the documents state. “It would be next to impossible for a jury to ignore the perpetrator sitting next to the victims, yet decide the different issues, different claims and different damages that apply for victims as compared to perpetrator. Consolidation would undoubtedly give the false impression that the victims and the perpetrator are ‘in this together.'”
One line, in particular, points out the significance of their request: “Consolidation would undoubtedly give the false impression that the victims and the perpetrator are ‘in this together.'”
The court documents continue, per E! News:
“Forcing the victims to join their claims with their perpetrator’s claims would further traumatize the very victims Arkansas law is designed to protect.”
According to Courthouse News, Josh filed a separate lawsuit similar to his sisters’ against the same parties in July 2017. In an interview, Springdale, Arkansas, spokeswoman Melissa Reeves called the lawsuit “unfortunate” and “misguided.”
E! News reports that a judge has yet to rule on the Duggar girls’ request to bar Josh from their suit.