FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After being denied immunity by a U.S. District Court judge in a lawsuit filed by members of the Duggar family, three officials have filed an appeal.
Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, former Springdale Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate all filed an appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, court documents state.
The lawsuit was filed in May by Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy Duggar.
In a separate motion, O’Kelley and Cate have asked that the Duggar hearing be put on hold until their immunity appeal is ruled on by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
It targets the City of Springdale, police officials and Washington County.
The lawsuit claims that in 2006, they were interviewed about the molestation when they were minors and were told the documents would only be shared with police officials and child services.
It states in 2015, InTouch Magazine filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Springdale Police Department for the molestation documents. Then Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate determined the documents should be released based on the FOIA. The lawsuit states this action was “hastily and improperly” done.
The lawsuit quotes Arkansas Juvenile Code section 9-27-309(j), which states: “Records of the arrest of a juvenile, the detention of a juvenile, and the proceedings under this subchapter shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967, § 25-19-101 et seq. unless: (1) Authorized by a written order of the juvenile division of circuit court; or (2) The arrest of the proceedings under this subchapter result in the juvenile’s being formally charged in the criminal division of circuit court for a felony.”
The lawsuit comes after police reports were released in May 2015 revealed the eldest Duggar –Josh– committed acts of child molestation as a teenager, some of his sisters among the victims. TLC then canceled their show ’19 Kids and Counting’ in July 2015. Then in August 2015, Josh Duggar admitted to having an affair after the Ashley Madison scandal came to light. In November of that same year, Law and Order Special Victim’s Unit also aired an episode loosely based on the family’s controversy.