More defense for the Duggars from Arkansas legislators Hester and Woods | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 22, 2015

More defense for the Duggars from Arkansas legislators Hester and Woods

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 3:35 PM

click to enlarge DUGGAR DEFENDER: Sen. Bart Hester.
  • DUGGAR DEFENDER: Sen. Bart Hester.
AP picks up some quotes from Arkansas Republican legislators relative to the Josh Duggar sexual molesttion revelations.

Arkansas Sen. Bart Hester said Josh Duggar, who he has known for about five years, has been open and honest about the incident with wife, family and friends. State Sen. Jon Woods, who has known the Duggar family since 2005, said the family had put the issue behind them.

"It's between the family members and was addressed a long time ago but it's new to the public," Woods said. "The family had time to heal and now the public needs time to heal."

Hester is a leader of the anti-gay contingent at the Arkansas legislature, a cause in which the Duggars enlisted with claims that gay people were a threat to molest children. Woods hails from Northwest Arkansas.

Noted: It is not strictly true that this is simply a matter between family members.

1) Not all of the girls molested were family members.

2) The case was referred for handling to the Department of Human Services during a time when Duggar ally Mike Huckabee was governor and known to have a lot of influence on DHS actions.

3) The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported the existence of a lawsuit by Duggar against DHS. The record of that suit no longer exists. It is only speculation, but a founded report of molestation (and the Springdale police reports indicates the Duggars admitted molestation had occurred) can land a person on the state's confidential child abuse registry. There is a procedure for appealing such a placement. Whatever treatment Duggar received in a local court as the son of a prominent political figure might be interesting.

4) Complaints about Duggar have surfaced publicly over the years, yet a national cable TV network continued to air the program.

5) Just this week, Judge Stacey Zimmerman, took the legally questionable move of acting on an unknown party's motion and ordering the Springdale police to destroy the police report on the matter. The law clearly allows redaction of police records to protect sex crime victims, but not to destroy records of such. Her jurisdiction on this record and her order that the report of a public agency's activity be destroyed are matters lawyers are questioning. The report exists elsewhere. It is hard to believe that courts ultimately would uphold the notion that people can selectively bring about destruction of records such as these.

6) People aware of Josh Duggar's behavior continue to be unhappy about it. Witness the tip to Oprah in 2006 that finally produced a police investigation long after the fact and the as-yet-unknown events that put the information in the hands of In Touch, which broke the story this week.

This is not strictly a family matter. It's about the legal and therapeutic issue of whether sex crimes should be handled by a family and their church or law officers. It's about whether a politically connected family got treatment different from that others have received in similar circumstances from police, prosecutor, judge and state agency. It's about Republican politicians circling wagons around a fellow Republican and seemingly dismissing the lasting impact of sexual molestation on victims, whether family members or not.  It is also, not inciddentally, about reflexive defense of a family that has been prominent in equating homosexuality with perversion after actual molestation within their own home. Family matter? I don't think so. Open and honest? With their allies, maybe.  Everyone else? No.

PS — Lawyers have been inquiring about this case at public agencies this week. Coincidental to the sudden emergence of news nine years after the fact? 

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