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Josh Duggar Facing Lawsuit for Molestation – My Thoughts

I saw the news story that one of Josh Duggar’s five molestation victims (the non-family member) is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against him. The first thought that crossed my mind when I read this was: “Good!”

On one hand, I’m annoyed that the statute of limitations has run out on the criminal case in this situation; however, the silver lining of that is that no one can invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked questions about what happened. I am curious to see who all will be named in the lawsuit, if it will be just Josh, or if claims will be brought against his parents, church leaders, and the police as well.

Everyone Knows Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted (From the One in Three Exhibit by Stacey Champion)

Everyone Knows Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted (From the One in Three Exhibit by Stacey Champion)

One of the things that is annoying about being a sexual assault survivor and an advocate for victim’s rights, is the fact that there are statutes of limitations in many states that forbid victims from filing criminal charges or civil lawsuits against their perpetrators if they wait too long. In my situation, my statute of limitations to bring criminal charges ran out the day I turned 26. My abuser will never face criminal charges for what he did to me. There is a good chance that my statute of limitations has also run for civil charges, depending on how you look at the situation.

Even when the criminal statute of limitations has run out (in states that impose such limits – though I disagree with this too), perpetrators should still be held responsible for the physical and emotional damage they cause. If I ever become a political activist, I would want to dedicate my energy to changing the law so that sexual abuse and assault victims can always file civil suits against their perpetrators. If the victim can prove to a court of law that the perpetrator is responsible for harming the victim, then that person should be responsible for paying the victim financial damages that will offset the cost of their medical bills, therapy, medication, and pain they may endure for the rest of their lives.

The applicable Arkansas law gives victims a three-year window in which to file a civil lawsuit for childhood sexual abuse. This may mean that only one of Josh’s victims will ever have the chance to pursue damages for the harm he caused. If his other victims (his sisters) decide they want to file a lawsuit later, they may not be able to, and that is a tragedy.

Statute of limitations have their place – we don’t want someone waiting ten years after a fender bender to request money for their physical injuries because by then it could be too hard to determine what caused the victim’s injuries. However, that is not necessarily the case in sexual assault cases. Yes, the person bringing the case will still have the burden of proving that the perpetrator is responsible for causing their injuries, which may be more difficult to do the longer the person waits to file a lawsuit; however, the passage of time shouldn’t be a knocks to bar that attempt to get justice.

I hope Josh Duggar’s victim files a civil lawsuit against him and everyone else who contributed to her injuries. I’m curious to hear what will come out in public testimony if this case goes to court.

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, please know that you are not alone. If you need help, there are amazing organizations out there like RAINN and 1in6.

2 Comments

  1. Not sure if you already knew this, but in Arizona, there are some possibilities for bringing an action (or charges), even many, many years later.

    As you likely already know, as to any civil claims, the limitations time would not start running until the victim turned 18, and then the limitations period is 2 years (except see below).

    As to any criminal charges, the statute of limitations is 7 years, except for sexual conduct with a minor under 15, or child molestation, or sexual exploitation of a minor, which have no statute of limitations in Arizona.

    A.R.S. 13-1405 (B) classifies sexual conduct with a minor as a class 2 felony, if the minor is under 15, or if the accused is or was the minor’s parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent, teacher, clergyman, or priest.

    A.R.S. 13-1410 (B) classifies child molestation as a class 2 felony.

    A.R.S. 13-3553 (C) classifies sexual exploitation of a minor as a class 2 felony.

    A.R.S. 13-107 (A) states that there is no statute of limitations for these class 2 felonies.

    A.R.S. 12-511 (A) extends the statute of limitations for any civil cause of action brought by a victim for criminal conduct against the victim, if a defendant is charged by a criminal complaint or indictment. The victim has 1 year from the final disposition of the criminal proceedings to bring a civil action, regardless of whether the defendant is convicted of criminal conduct against the victim.

    — Michael Kielsky
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    Tempe, AZ 85282 Email: Michael@KRazLaw.com
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    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thanks for adding this Michael – great resource for Arizona victims.