Josh Duggar Scandal: What Are the Legal Implications?
Controversy continues to explode around the headline-making scandal surrounding “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star Josh Duggar, the oldest son in the wildly popular TLC reality show.
Josh was accused of molesting five underage girls in 2002 when he was 14 years old, but was never charged with any crimes. The statute of limitations keeps authorities from prosecuting him now, but attorney Rosemarie Arnold told “Extra” his alleged victims still have recourse.
“Civil cases could be viable depending how old the girls are,” Arnold clarified.
She went on to say that the “statute of limitations for a civil sexual abuse case in Arkansas [where the Duggar family resides] is three years from your majority,” meaning the day you turn age 18 or three years from the day you realize you were injured because of the abuse. “So if the girls are young enough or have suppressed memories, then the statute of limitations for the civil suit could be still be viable.”
The media frenzy surrounding the abuse scandal could be something that triggers memories of sexual abuse for these victims, and start the statute of limitations for the civil suits then, she explained.
The five underage girls' names will most likely not be released to the public for the protection of minors, Arnold said, and they never release the identities of victims of sexual abuse.
How much blame should be put on TLC? “You can't blame TLC for the molestation,” said Arnold, but “all reality shows have an obligation to the country to do a better job vetting their reality stars.”
In Arnold's opinion, not her legal opinion, “I think the show should be cancelled.” If the show can go on without Josh Duggar, it probably will, she stated.
“In this particular case, it's a family values show,” Arnold continued. “How can they continue to have a show where the family values are at the heart of the show when clearly the family values are not what they seem to be?”