Duggar sisters sue city, InTouch Weekly over breach of privacy
07:35, May 20, 2017
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The sisters argue that when they talked to the investigators in 2006 they were told that the information would be kept confidential, and under Arkansas' FOIA rules, interviews with minors can not be disclosed.
Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Joy Duggar, and Jinger Duggar (the two older sisters are married and have changed their names) have filed a federal breach-of-privacy lawsuit against the city of Springdale and Washington County, Arkansas, as well as some officials involved in the investigation, and In Touch. "Plaintiffs were also subject to the humiliation and extreme mental anguish of being publicly identified nation and world-wide as being victims of sexual abuse as minors and having the details of the most private and painful aspects of their lives released and published to friends, associates, and tens of millions of people throughout the United States and world".
Instead, officials in Springdale acted "hastily and improperly" in releasing related reports through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted May 15, 2015, by In Touch Weekly, the lawsuit states.
Two years ago, the Duggar family was the center of public scandal when police documents were released showing that the oldest sibling had molested several of his younger sisters, as well as at least one person outside the family.
The sisters say they were further victimized by all the scrutiny of their family after In Touch's report was published.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages against the defendants and "an award of reasonable attorneys' fees, costs and expenses" to the plaintiffs. Duggarrecently returned to televsion in a new controversial show called Counting On.
Various government officials in office in May of 2015 when the documents were released are named individually in the lawsuit, including the Springdale, Ark., police chief and city attorney, a Washington County sheriff's major, and the attorney for Washington County. However, since the show was canceled, the sisters have secured another reality show, Counting On.
The sisters are not contesting the accuracy of the In Touch report - indeed, they themselves subsequently confirmed that they were the victims in the case. Duggars Sue In Touch Over Molestation Stories https://t.co/fb299Uwl23 pic.twitter.com/nhXM506wm9 - Gossip Cop (@GossipCop) May 19, 2017 But Gossip Cop noted that closed sexual misconduct cases in which the victims' names were redacted from the documents and released after the offender was no longer a minor are exempt from the legal prohibition. But JillDuggar rejected In Touch's claim that it was the sisters who revealed they were among the victims in the molestation case. They admitted that the allegations were true. We feel like our story was not being told.
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