The Duggar Sisters Are Suing Over The Report That Ended 19 Kids And Counting

the duggar daughters

While it hasn't technically been all that long since the last time a controversy surrounded the Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting fame, one assumes any amount of peace and headline avoidance is welcomed within the scandal-rocked clan. The quiet has ended for now, though, due to a huge lawsuit that four of the Duggar sisters have filed over the initial report about Josh Duggar's illicit behavior as a teen, and just about everyone under the sun is being targeted.

If you'll recall, the Duggar downfall began back in 2015 when an In Touch released the report about then-teenaged Josh having molested several underage females, with his sisters being part of that victim group. The ensuing controversy is what caused TLC to cancel 19 Kids and Counting, which had become the network's most successful program. Currently back on TLC with the ongoing Counting On, the sisters Jill, Jessa, Jinger and Joy filed their lawsuit against not only In Touch parent company Bauer Media and its various arms, but also the city of Springdale, Arkansas and the surrounding Washington County, Arkansas. Along with now-retired Springdale Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley, Washington Country sheriff's office Enforcement Major Rick Hoyt, and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate. And their foundation is that the magazine wrongfully played a part in identifying them as victims, even though their underage status at the time should have kept their names out of public knowledge.

Specifically, the lawsuit states that the Duggar sisters spoke with members of the Springdale PD back in 2006 concerning the investigating into Josh's actions, at which point they were all minors. They were promised at the time that they're statements would remain private, but when In Touch put forth its Freedom of Information Act request for the reports, the suit alleges that Kathy O'Kelley and Ernest Cate wrongfully determined it appropriate to share the incident report and other official information. And though In Touch doesn't identify any of the sisters by name, they claim that by still going to print with the names of parents Jim Bob and Michelle, that was just as clear as plainly stating the sisters' names.

Further, the Duggar sisters allege that the blowback from the highly publicized scandal has put them through much pain and suffering in their personal lives. The "sensationalized headlines" are seen as a way to draw out the public's opinions about it all, and after the sisters publicly forgave Josh for his past actions, they were apparently subjected to even more harsh treatment. Which is all piled on top of the fact that they're the victims of sexual assault.

It's hard to say just where this lawsuit will head in the future, as there are assuredly lots of eyeballs on it. (And not just those of the Duggar family.) While waiting to hear more about it all, check out our summer TV schedule to see what's coming to the small screen in the near future, such as Season 3 of TLC's advertiser-challenged Counting On.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.