Sheriff’s Office Behind Second Duggar Police Report Released Much More Than Has Been Published
The ramifications of the Duggar police report are wide-reaching, revealing that a man whose political activism falsely categorizes an entire demographic of human beings as child molesters committed the very act himself that he pins on others. The family is finally speaking out in a series of interviews with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, and trying to repair their reputation. However, the saga may not be anywhere near its end: a statement from the Washington County Police Department indicates that they may have released far more than has thus far been made public.
In Touch magazine sent a Freedom Of Information Act request in early-to-mid-March to at least two law enforcement agencies in Arizona. While there have been internet rumors of a sexual scandal of one type or another involving Josh Duggar floating around the internet for years, it’s not clear whether In Touch knew what they would get, had any inside tips, or were just fishing.
Whatever may have spurred the FOIA request, the response rocked the nation. Josh Duggar had, according to the police reports, molested five girls, four of whom were his sisters, one only five years old, over the course of a year. His parents had covered it up. It had only come out because of an anonymous tip, after the statute of limitations had passed.
After the response to the story had reached a fevered frenzy, and a judge had ordered the records destroyed, at the behest of a victim who is still a minor, or perhaps at the behest of said victim’s parents, another police report surfaced, this one from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, which had briefly assisted the local department in its investigation. The department mailed the police report, in compliance with FOIA law, before the Duggar story really blew up in the public eye.
In Touch released pages from this second document yesterday. It’s clear that what they published isn’t the entire report, because the pages are numbered ‘Page 5 of 8’ through ‘Page 8 of 8.’ However, these pages essentially mirror the initial release, only with fewer names redacted, so the first four pages, which merely identified the people involved in the case, and were virtually completely redacted in the initial release, probably look about the same.
However, 5 News contacted the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with questions about the release of information, and the response includes a startling piece of news — the Duggar police report, as released by that office, was more than fifty pages long.
The statement was largely worded to assure that the department had followed through with appropriate procedures: it discusses FOIA rules, explains that when the other set of records were ordered destroyed, they contacted the judge to alert her that they also had records, and will not release them if requested again, and notes that the FOIA request came not from a tabloid but an attorney.
However, the more astounding disclosure is this:
Various staff handled this request within our office because the request was so broad. Employees from several different areas in our agency such as Dispatch, Records, and our Criminal Investigation Division compiled information and ultimately returned it to the Records Division where over 50 pages were finally copied and mailed to the requestor, Abtin Mehdizadegan. Within those 50 pages was the 7 page report that has now made national news.
What conclusions can we draw here?
The request was broad — that could indicate that the request sought anything with the name ‘Duggar’ in it. Perhaps the other forty-plus pages cover incidents where police were called because there was a trespasser on Duggar property, or other innocuous incidents.
However, it may be a hint that In Touch is holding back more information to release only after the Duggars complete their series of public statements — perhaps hoping to catch th family, or a connected politician, in demonstrable falsehoods.
Whatever else is in the police records, the statement suggests that they aren’t being destroyed, but also aren’t being released on further requests — so unless the requestor decides to release them, we may never know.