Everything you need to know about the Duggar Sisters trial

The Duggar family have often found themselves in court in recent months. In November 2021, Josh Duggar’s trial on two charges of child pornography took place. A jury found him guilty on both counts. In January, Jana Duggar was due to appear in court on a child endangerment matter. In February, a judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, Jill Dillard and Joy-Anna Forsyth. The lawsuit alleged that county and city officials invaded the privacy of the Duggar girls in 2015. What exactly was it?

The Duggar sisters filed their lawsuit in 2017

In May 2017, the four sisters who were revealed to be victims of sexual abuse filed a lawsuit against various city and county officials. The sisters alleged they were promised anonymity when they discussed the abuse with law enforcement officials in 2006. The lawsuit went on to claim their privacy was invaded when Washington County and the city of Springdale released police reports of sexual abuse within the Duggar family. was home to In Touch Weekly in 2015. The publication was first to break the story. The sexual abuse was, it seems, common knowledge in the Duggar family’s island social circle.

The famous nature of the family made it easier to identify the victims, although not all of the victims initially identified themselves. Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald appeared on TV and revealed that they were in fact victims. Jinger Vuolo and Joy-Anna Forsyth have not publicly named themselves victims. However, the filing of a complaint confirmed their identity. Officials redacted the names of the victims in the released records. The identity of Josh’s fifth victim, known only to be a family friend, remains anonymous.

In June 2017, Josh Duggar, the author, joined the lawsuit. He later filed his own complaint, alleging that the disclosure of the information also caused him emotional distress and unnecessary scrutiny. Federal Marshals arrested Josh in April 2021 for receiving and possessing child sexual abuse images. He was found guilty in December 2021 and is awaiting sentencing.

Judge Timothy L. Brooks dismissed the lawsuit on February 9

Following the Duggar sisters’ filing in 2017, things calmed down regarding the lawsuit. The court originally scheduled a hearing for December 2021. The courts pushed the hearing back due to Josh’s ongoing criminal trial. On February 9, 2022, Judge Timothy L. Brooks dismissed the lawsuit, noting that the Duggars’ legal team had failed to prove that officials intended to release the names of sexual abuse victims.

Jessa Seewald with Spurgeon Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, Joy-Anna Forsyth and Jana Duggar | Ida Mae Astute/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Although the judge decided to dismiss the lawsuit, he noted that officials involved in the case mishandled the release. According to KAIT 8, Judge Brooks pointed out that the officials were “profoundly wrong” about the laws surrounding FOIA requests.

The name of the federal judge who presided over the trial may sound familiar to supporters of the Duggar family. Judge Timothy L. Brooks is the same federal judge who presided over Josh Duggar’s criminal trial. He will also condemn the troubled former reality TV star. Judging is expected to take place on April 5.

The Duggar family reacts to the dismissal

While Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy-Anna Forsyth chose to remain silent on the lawsuit, Jill Dillard did not. The mother-of-two, along with her husband, Derick Dillard, released a statement shortly after the layoffs were announced.

Jill Duggar Dillard (L) and husband Derick Dillard of the Duggar family smiling on the set of 'Extra'

Jill Duggar Dillard (L) and husband Derick Dillard visit ‘Extra’ | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

Jill and Derick took the opportunity to castigate an official by name. In the statement posted on their blog, Jill and Derick had harsh words for Kathy O’Kelley. The duo claimed that O’Kelley “abused his authority”. They went on to claim that the public officials fulfilled a “vendetta” by releasing the records. O’Kelley was the police chief of Springdale, Arkansas, in 2015.

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line on 741741 for free, confidential assistance.

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