Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger went on Fox News Wednesday night to explain why their son’s childhood molestation habit wasn’t really that big of a deal. Unsurprisingly, InTouch has found, many of their statements were deliberately misleading.
First of all, they did not, as implied during the interview, fully cooperate with police during the 2006 investigation. According to InTouch, “[T]he Springdale police report, obtained by In Touch through FOIA, reveals that Jim Bob refused to produce Josh for a police-requested interview and stopped cooperating with the probe.”
Secondly, Jim Bob told Fox News that he and Michelle were not legally required to report their son’s actions. InTouch spoke with Arkansas law professor Michael Johnson, who explained that, no, these assholes very well could have (and should have) gone to jail:
“It is possible that investigators looking into this case could have cited the parents Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar with Arkansas Code 5-27-221 ‘Permitting Abuse of a Minor.’ Having once learned of the behavior, they recklessly allowed it to continue. This crime is a class D felony because the abuse consisted of sexual contact with a minor. The maximum penalty for permitting this type of abuse under Arkansas Code 5-4-401 is six years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.”
There’s a lot more here: though Jim Bob and interviewer Megyn Kelly both repeatedly referred to the records as being “illegally released,” there was nothing illegal about it. InTouch points to a Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article that says the documents were not protected and subject to the Freedom of Information Act like any other similar record:
“’I don’t think [the agencies] had a choice,’ said John Tull, a Little Rock attorney who specializes in public-record cases. ‘They had to release the reports. Those records are not closed under FOI. The alleged perpetrator had attained his majority at the time it was released, and once his name and all the victims’ names were blacked out, it was subject to FOI.’
The Duggars also failed to mention that they were investigated by the Department of Human Services, and perhaps most interestingly, InTouch interviewed Joe Hutchens, the former police officer assigned to Josh’s case who is currently serving a 56-year prison sentence for child pornography. Jim Bob claimed that it was a random match-up, but an InTouch interview with Hutchens suggests otherwise:
Hutchens was interviewed from prison by a representative from a local law firm hired by In Touch and contradicts Jim Bob’s story. He said he knew Jim Bob well from his job and had even taught a couple of classes to car dealerships with him. In addition, Hutchens – who was not promised anything in return for his interview and told only that it was part of an investigation – said that Jim Bob specifically sought him out to talk to Josh.
Read the full report here.
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