One day after Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar criticized what they called an illegal release of information about their son Josh's past, the city of Springdale, Ark., defended itself online, saying officials followed protocol when dealing with the report.
In a statement posted to the Springdale website on Thursday, June 4, city attorney Ernest B. Cate wrote, "On 5/20/15, in full compliance with Arkansas law, the Springdale Police Department responded to a records request under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. The requested record was not sealed or expunged, and at the time the report was filed, the person listed in the report was an adult."
The statement continued: "Any names of minors included in the report, as well as pronouns, were redacted from the report by the Springdale Police Department in compliance with Arkansas law prior to release."
Cate doesn't specifically mention the Duggar family or the nature of the report in question, but the timing of the request lines up with recent events. As noted in the statement, the information was released on May 20 — one day before the Duggars addressed their son's molestation scandal online.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," Josh, now 27, said in a statement posted to the family's Facebook page on May 21. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling."
Jim Bob and Michelle also released a statement about the scandal, and went on to tell their side of the story in an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, June 3. During the sit-down, they claimed they were told that the police report was a "sealed juvenile record," and that "under law there [was] no way that this could ever be brought out." They also said they were "talking to some attorneys" about possible legal action.
"It has been an unprecedented attack on our family," Jim Bob told Kelly. "And this information was released illegally. And so I'm wondering why all this press is not going after the system for releasing these juvenile records. That is a huge story."
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