County asks for removal from Duggar lawsuit
FAYETTEVILLE — Washington County asked a federal judge to dismiss it and two men affiliated with the county as defendants in a lawsuit brought by four daughters of Jim Bob Duggar over the release of documents.
The four women sued Northwest Arkansas officials in May, claiming police investigation records were improperly released to In Touch magazine, which published the information.
The police investigation determined oldest son Josh Duggar, fondled the girls and at least one other girl. The contact took place in 2002 and was reported, but the Arkansas State Police officer informed at the time took no action. Springdale Police investigated years later when they learned of the contact, but by then the statute of limitation barred any charges, if applicable. The police report didn’t come to light until 2015.
The suit names Springdale, which has also argued it shouldn’t be named in an earlier motion to U.S. District Court in Fayetteville. Washington County filed its motion Monday.
Both the county and the city argue they are immune to such suits under federal law. Monday’s motion also says Steve Zega, who was county attorney when the records were released, and Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Sheriff’s Office were acting as agents of the county. Therefore, naming them as defendants is redundant, the motion argues.
The Duggar family starred in the television documentary series 19 Kids and Counting before the fondling became public. The show’s broadcast was suspended after the police report confirming the incident was made public. Later, the show was cancelled.