SPRINGDALE, Ark. — A lawsuit filed by four Duggar sisters against the City of Springdale, Washington County, the publishers of In Touch Weekly magazine and others has been pushed back from September to December 2021.
In May of 2017, Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy Duggar filed the lawsuit against the defendants for invasion of privacy.
The sisters talked to police in December 2006 as part of an investigation into reports that their brother, Josh Duggar, had molested them and one other female in 2002 and 2003, court documents state. Police promised the sisters, who were all minors at the time, that their statements would remain confidential and would not be disclosed to the public.
In May 2015, In Touch Weekly sent a Freedom of Information Act request for the incident report after getting an anonymous tip. The lawsuit alleges the city gave the magazine an under-redacted report that included the names of the sisters’ parents, the family’s address, and the age of at least one of the victims, which allowed the public to identify the four sisters.
In Touch Weekly was the first magazine to publish the sisters’ identities, and the lawsuit alleges that people at the magazine sensationalized the sisters’ traumatizing experiences to make money. It states that the sisters suffered severe emotional, mental and psychological distress as a result of the magazine’s report.
The lawsuit also names Kathy O’Kelly, who was the chief of the Springdale Police Department at the time; Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney; Rick Hoyt, enforcement major at Washington County Sheriff’s Office; and Steve Zega, Washington County attorney. These four oversaw and approved the release of the under-redacted report, the document states.
The Duggar sisters appeared on the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” which chronicled the lives of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar and their children.