Josh Duggar, the Christian TV personality who admitted to molesting several of his younger sisters, has lost his privacy lawsuit against the publishers of In Touch Weekly.
He joined the lawsuit, filed by the sisters he abused, saying the magazine wrongfully published their personal information (which they legally obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request). A federal judge tossed both suits against Bauer Publishing, which owns In Touch, citing First Amendment rights, according to Arkansas Online.
[U.S. District Judge Tim] Brooks said neither Duggar nor his sisters made allegations in their lawsuits that Bauer ever published untruthful information about them. He said the police documents were given to Bauer pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Brooks said it is “clear that the Bauer defendants cannot be held liable.” He also dismissed nearly all of Josh Duggar’s claims against city officials and the police, leaving only the Arkansas Department of Human Services as a defendant, though they haven’t been served with any lawsuit.
But what about Duggar’s sisters, who were actually victims of something (their own brother)? The judge dismissed Bauer from both cases, but left claims against former Springdale Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley, Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate, and Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Washington County sheriff’s office in the sisters’ lawsuit.
Brooks said that while the claims were almost identical in Duggar’s case and the sisters’ case against the three individuals, the circumstances were very different.
The judge said Josh Duggar was named in an article by In Touch Weekly magazine prior to the police documents being released, but the sisters were not identified.
“This fact alone is fatal to nearly all of Joshua Duggar’s claims against Springdale and Washington County defendants,” the judge wrote.
The ruling comes a month after the sisters asked the court not to merge the two cases, saying it would further traumatize them. That court filing also recognized the differences in the lawsuits, which the judge picked up on right away.
At the end of the day, Josh Duggar tried to play the victim card, and he still lost the game. He decided to join a lawsuit filed by the girls he abused, saying he was harmed in similar ways (he actually said he was caused mental anguish and humiliation through this ordeal), and it didn’t stand up in court.
I’d like to say I hope he’ll learn a lesson from all this, but that may be too much to ask.