Josh And Jim Bob Duggar: Can Either Be Prosecuted Now In Sexual Molestation Case...

May 24, 2015

Josh And Jim Bob Duggar: Can Either Be Prosecuted Now In Sexual Molestation Case, Or Placed On A Sexual Offenders’ Registry?

Josh Duggar, now 27 and married with three children, with another on the way, was the subject of a police investigation in 2006. He was then accused of “forcibly fondling” five different girls when he was a teen, according to Hollywood Life. Four were his sisters. He recently admitted to the molestations.

When his father, Jim Bob, found out about Josh’s fondling other youngsters, he turned him in to Arkansas State Police, according to In Touch. Jim Bob allegedly caught Josh leaving a young girl’s bedroom and learned something inappropriate happened.

However, a strange sequence of events prevented police and prosecutors from completing their investigation and possibly prosecuting. Shortly prior to 2005, the state trooper who originally took the report about Josh failed to follow up. That state trooper was later convicted on child pornography charges and is serving a 60-year prison sentence. His name is Joseph T. Hutchens, according to the Daily Mail.

When that trooper had difficulties, someone from the Arkansas State Police alerted the Child Abuse Hotline about the Duggar situation that had been sitting inactive. Then, the Crimes Against Children Division and Springdale Police Department became involved. However, by that time, the three-year statute of limitations that then existed had passed. Therefore, it would not have been possible to prosecute Josh even if the allegations warranted such. The investigation was therefore discontinued. A source familiar with the case stated the following, according to In Touch.

“A technicality [the statute of limitations] prevented any further action. That’s been the biggest regret in all of this.”

Since that time, the statute of limitations has been lengthened. When questioned whether Josh or his father Jim Bob could now conceivably be prosecuted, a criminal defense attorney Jason Files stated the following, according to Hollywood Life.

“At this point, it does not appear that either man should be facing any criminal charge, based on the statute of limitations.”

The question also arose whether Josh should or could be placed on a sexual offenders’ registry, and attorney Files stated that he could not, as he was never convicted of a crime, and he stated the following, according to Hollywood Life.

“Nothing I have seen indicates that Josh was ever convicted of any crime, so he should not be on the sex offender registry. Josh Duggar is not considered a sexual offender, unless he was convicted in a court of law of a sexual crime as an adult.”

When asked whether Jim Bob could be guilty of a crime for not reporting Josh’s molestations sooner, attorney Files replied that he could not because wasn’t legally obligated to do so. He noted that there is no general legal obligation to report a crime. He stated that there are certain classes of individuals who are legally obligated to report crimes, such as the clergy, a teacher, a doctor, or a nurse, indicating the following to Hollywood Life.

“Nothing in the facts as reported would indicate that Josh’s father was a mandatory reporter, meaning that he was under no legal obligation to report a suspected crime….Only persons designated as ‘mandatory reporters’ are under a legal obligation to report suspected abuse of a child. Clergy are mandatory reporters and do have a legal duty to report suspected child maltreatment. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor criminal offense. There are two exceptions for clergy – they are not required to report if their knowledge comes from communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to their religious discipline, or if it is received from the offender in the context of an admission. The statute of limitations for misdemeanors is one year, so any potential criminal prosecution is likely time-barred.”

Josh’s wife, Anna, already knew about the molestation before they married. Of course, the Duggar family never allows their children to date — they “court,” or date with the purpose to marry, so families begin to know each other well before a marriage occurs, according to an article in the Inquisitr.

Do you think that Josh Duggar should be prosecuted for molesting girls when he was a teenager? Do you think that his father, Jim Bob, should be prosecuted for anything? Please leave your comments below.



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