Bill Gothard: Duggar Church Founder Sued For Sexual Abuse

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In March of 2014, Institute for Basic Life Principles founder Bill Gothard resigned in disgrace amidst allegations that he had sexually abused dozens of female employees. 

Bill Gothard

Last month, after more than a year away from the public eye, Gothard - who might be best known for his close relationship to the Duggar family - relaunched his website and social media accounts, and was immediately bombarded with accusations of sexual assault.

His alleged victims said it was their way of sending Gothard the message that his crimes have not been forgotten, and that they intend to see him in court.

Yesterday, five of those women - Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees and a Jane Doe - made good on that promise by filing a lawsuit against Gothard in which they each seek $50,000 in damages.

Obviously, the suit could prove profoundly damaging for Gothard and his ministry, particularly since it may inspire more of his alleged victims (over 30 in total) to take legal action. 

It may also have a negative impact on the reputation of Gothard's most famous followers - the Duggar family.

The 80-year-old pastor has been linked to the Duggars for decades and may be responsible for some of their most controversial beliefs and actions.

Gothard was involved in "counseling" Josh Duggar after the Michelle and Jim Bob's eldest admitted to molesting his sisters.

In addition, his IBLP provided the Duggars with homeschooling curricula that teaches children that victims of sexual assault are partially to blame for their attackers' actions. 

While the family is in no way directly linked to the allegations against Gothard, if a court finds that the minister used his power to "cover up sexual abuse and harassment" (as the suit alleges), the Duggars' already-shrinking fan base may be reminded of the ways in which the 19 Kids and Counting clan did the same.

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Duggar Family Quotes

When you've missed [sex] for seven days, you look forward to it even more! - Michelle Duggar

Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls. - Michelle Duggar on saying yes (yes, and more yes) to sex