Josh Duggar Pulls Out of Sisters' Lawsuit Against Tabloid, Police

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Josh Duggar has withdrawn a motion to join a lawsuit filed by his sisters regarding the release of information by police two years ago.

The lawsuit pertains to now-infamous allegations that Josh sexually abused his little sisters while they were juveniles in the early 2000s.

Joshua Duggar Pic

Celebrity gossip publication In Touch broke the story in 2015, triggering a massive scandal that tarnished the reality TV family's brand.

The Duggars have filed suit against both the aforementioned tabloid and law enforcement officials for their role in the story's release.

Jill (Duggar) Dillard, Jessa (Duggar) Seewald, Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo and Joy-Anna Duggar are the four siblings who are suing.

Josh himself joined the lawsuit briefly earlier this month, only to withdraw the motion to do so per his attorney, Gregory Payne.

The one sentence motion - already granted by a federal judge - doesn't say why Josh Duggar decided to drop his legal claims.

"Comes now, the intervening party, Josh Duggar, and upon further consideration hereby withdraws his motion to intervene," the motion says.

Jana, Jill, Joy-Anna, Jessa and Jinger Duggar

The four daughters of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (pictured above, with Jana Duggar, who is not involved in the suit), sued in May.

Their claim is that officials improperly released police documents to the celebrity gossip magazine, which improperly published the details.

Alleging invasion of privacy, outrage and violation of the right to due process, they are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

Josh Duggar initially argued he should be made a party to the suit because their case cannot adequately represent his personal interests.

Police investigated allegations of sexual abuse against him in 2006, related to incidents in 2002 and 2003. No charges were brought.

A Family in Need of Services petition was filed in Washington County Juvenile Court. The girls were juveniles at the time of the allegations.

Both lawsuits contend police assured the family that only law enforcement, juvenile court and child services personnel would see this.

Defendants include Springdale, Ark., Washington County, several individuals representing both, and Bauer Media, In Touch's publisher.

Josh and Anna Duggar Anniversary Photo

Springdale officials released a response through their attorneys, calling the lawsuit unfortunate, misguided, without merit and false.

The statement says that Springdale actually prevailed on a previous legal action regarding release of the information in question.

The sisters counter that the officials released documents to In Touch under a Freedom of Information Act request in violation of the law.

Arkansas law prohibits the releasing such information to protect juveniles and victims of sexual abuse, the four women maintain.

Despite a judge's order to seal the documents, the magazine ran the storty for financial gain and to embarrass the Duggars, they allege.

According to the lawsuit, officials improperly decided the offense report should be released to the public, and should be held to account.

The suit asks a judge to order In Touch to hand over profit it made by exploiting them and order them to stop publishing this information.

Josh and Anna Duggar with Family

"Plaintiffs endured harsh and unwarranted public scrutiny," the sisters' lawsuit alleges, demanding punitive damages for that as well.

Reliving the memories and the scrutiny resulted in the "plaintiffs suffering severe mental anguish and distress," according to the lawsuit. 

Josh Duggar, then 14, revealed in early 2002 to his parents he had run his hands over the young girls in the family home as they slept.

Jim Bob and Michelle admitted this in an interview aired June 3, 2015, by Fox News, not long after In Touch broke the shocking story.

Jim Bob and Michelle Today

The parents told the girls, disciplined their son and took precautions, but didn't seek outside assistance, Jim Bob and Michelle said.

Josh confessing before anyone found out about the behavior and showing remorse gave them hope that he would change on his own.

Duggar then admitted in July 2002 that he took similar advantage of girls who had fallen asleep on the family couch, they said.

In March 2003 came a third admission from the first-born of their 19 kids that he had touched two girls while they were awake.

By then, a total of five girls, the four sisters and a house guest, had been fondled, the parents said, and finally they took action.

The Duggars took him to report what he had done to an Arkansas State Police employee, according to the Springdale Police report.

Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar People Magazine Cover

The corporal didn't report the matter to the Arkansas child abuse hotline as required by state law. It's not clear why he did not do so.

Springdale Police, for their part, say they didn't learn of the incident until someone anonymously called the abuse hotline in 2006.

By that point, the statute of limitations had run out on any applicable criminal charges, and the matter was never made public.

The Duggars' reality show 19 Kids and Counting drew 3.6 million viewers as recently as May 2015, when the scandal rocked the Internet.

TLC later canceled the show abruptly, though it was later revived under the name Counting On, with Josh Duggar persona non grata.

In the wake of the news breaking in 2015, Josh was also linked to the cheating website Ashley Madison and went to sex rehab.

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