LITTLE ROCK, Ark. >> Reality TV personality Josh Duggar faced “unwarranted public scrutiny” after a magazine disclosed that sisters told police they had been molested by him years earlier, lawyers for Duggar said in a complaint in which he seeks to join his sisters’ breach-of-privacy lawsuit over the revelation.
Four of Duggar’s sisters are suing the city of Springdale and Washington County, Arkansas, and publishers of InTouch Weekly, which first revealed their identities.
The siblings were among the “19 Kids and Counting” on the TLC reality show that chronicled the personal life of Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. The show was pulled from the network after reports surfaced in 2015 that Josh Duggar had molested sisters Jill Duggar Dillard, Jessa Duggar Seewald, Jinger Duggar Vuolo and Joy Duggar, between March 2002 and March 2003 when they were minors.
The sisters say investigators promised them confidentiality after an anonymous tipster reported that their brother had molested them and a baby sitter. Attorneys for the siblings say the city and county breached that promise when the magazine obtained documents that made it easy to identify the sisters. The magazine obtained the documents through a public-records request. The sisters allege InTouch then exposed them globally.
Josh Duggar’s complaint — filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville — says the revelations forced him “to relive painful memories and experiences.” His lawyers also said he “was also subject to the humiliation and extreme mental anguish of being publicly identified.”
The sisters’ attorneys have said the lawsuit is about protecting children who have been abused.
“Revealing juvenile identities under these circumstances is unacceptable, and it’s against the law. The media and custodians of public records who let these children down must be held accountable,” the sisters’ attorneys said in a statement last month.
The Associated Press left messages Tuesday seeking comment from representatives for the city, county and the magazine.