Culture Ethics

Ex-trooper says he was not told the truth in Duggar molestation case

Josh Duggar, formerly executive director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Brian Frank. *Editors: This photo can only be used with RNS-DUGGAR-MOLEST, transmitted May 22, 2015 or RNS-TLC-DUGGARS, originally transmitted on July 16, 2015.
Josh Duggar, formerly executive director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Brian Frank. *Editors: This photo can only be used with RNS-DUGGAR-MOLEST, transmitted May 22, 2015.

Josh Duggar, formerly executive director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 9, 2014. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Brian Frank. *Editors: This photo can only be used with RNS-DUGGAR-MOLEST, transmitted May 22, 2015.

A former Arkansas state trooper claims the Duggar family concealed the extent of their son’s alleged fondling of underage girls when the patriarch of the family turned to him for help disciplining the teenager more than a decade ago, the tabloid In Touch reports.

The tabloid broke the original story that Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the Duggar family, from the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” had allegedly molested girls when he was a teenager. It published a 2006 police report on the incident.

Duggar has since apologized for “acting inexcusably” as a teenager and has resigned as executive director of the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm.

According to the police report, Jim Bob Duggar, the family patriarch, told police that he brought his son to then State Trooper Joseph Hutchens, a personal friend, for a “stern talk” after Josh purportedly had gone through a Christian counseling program in 2003.

The report states that Hutchens said there was nothing more to do about the allegations, given that Josh Duggar had gone through a counseling program.

Michelle Duggar, Josh’s mother, later told police that her son did not go through such a program but had instead had stayed at a Little Rock home that a family friend was remodeling.

In Touch says that Hutchens’ failure to report the abuse caused the police to halt their 2006 investigation because the statute of limitations had run out.

The trooper, Hutchens, is currently serving 56 years in Arkansas prison on child pornography charges. He spoke with In Touch on Wednesday through a local law firm, the publication says.

Hutchens disputes Duggar’s account of the incident, saying Jim Bob Duggar only told him about a single incident of abuse.

He maintains that Jim Bob and Josh Duggar told him Josh had inappropriately touched one girl through her clothing while she slept. They said “it only happened one time,” the former state trooper told In Touch.

Hutchens told In Touch that the Duggars’ original account of the incident played a part in his decision not to report the alleged abuse.

“I did what I thought was right and obviously it wasn’t,” he told In Touch. “If I had to do it over again, I would have told him immediately I am going to call the hotline and contacted the trooper that worked those cases and have a full report made. I thought I could handle it myself.”

“I have lost a lot of sleep over it. I am a Christian myself and I worry that something else may have happened,” he says. “I would be responsible for it, in my opinion, by not reporting it. The young girl should have been my first priority.”

There was no immediate response from the Duggar family regarding Hutchens’ account.

The TLC network has pulled reruns of the reality show from its schedule but has not decided whether to cancel the show outright. The show currently is not in production.

The scandal has prompted four major retailers, including Walgreens, the latest, to pull its ads from the family’s reality show. More than a dozen advertisers have abandoned the show.

(Doug Stanglin writes for USA Today.)

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Doug Stanglin / USA Today

20 Comments

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  • So a man doing more time than most murderers for chid pornography is claiming he didn’t act in an inappropriate manner concerning a crime of sexual abuse. That is credible /sarcasm.

  • In the Gospels Jesus never said that forgiveness meant that there would be no consequences for a person’s actions.
    Sexual predators will always be strongly attractive to a certain age child or even an adult. Opportunity means they will offend again and again. I have led therapy groups of sexual offenders in prison and later their victim’s in a counseling center. I am convinced that a pedophile cannot be “cured” the only hope for any future victims is to keep the pedophiles away from them. Some pedophiles like alcoholics, do attempt to keep away from their “drug” of choice.

  • The officer was a mandatory reporter of sexual abuse and is liable for violating that, although the statute of limitations likely has run. There is also the prospect of civil litigation against him or his agency. It may be relevant to his parole eligibility, and it is relevant to his own classification as a sex offender. That’s why his statement was released through a lawyer — he didn’t just call TMZ.

  • Unfortunately, this situation happens all to frequently. I’m a psychologist and recently read an amazing memoir of the damage that incest and religious abuse had on a young girl. It’s a powerful look at how God was used to perpetuate and excuse abuse. Here’s the link for anyone who might be interested:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wounds-Father-Story-Betrayal-Redemption-ebook/dp/B00T6ZRKOE/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1432829976&sr=8-1&keywords=wounds+of+the+father

  • Notoriety, money towards his family from the Duggars/Quiverfull supporters, not having his reputation soiled even further than it already is, the list can go on.

    Any number of plausible motives.

  • As a mandatory reporter myself, I have been instructed that the reporting laws contain no exemption for reporting abuse that has already been reported. I am mandated to report, regardless of whether someone tells me that a report has already been made or not. The state agency can sort out whether or not the abuse has already been reported. So regardless of what Trooper Hutchens was told by the Duggars, I believe he still was mandated to report the abuse.

  • He is lying. He interviewed 5 girls. How else would he know to interview 5 if he was told only 1. Liar.

  • And we do see right-wingers routinely turn to this crowdfunding, like the anti-gay pizza owners from Indiana, as well as the “Alliance Defending Freedom Of Faith” that promises anti-gay bakers and florists before they commit their crimes to provide free legal representation and to pay all fines and costs incurred, as the “Alliance” itself admits on their fundraising pages.

  • like i always say lets just kill child molesters and the next one will think about it more than once.

  • Legally, Jazz, police are among those with an “obligation to warn” and to protect potential victims. It is called the Tarasoff rule, and he could be subject to failing to report under this obligation.

    Pr Chris

  • When was the mandatory reporter statute enacted in Arkansas? I believe it was 2009. When did Josh go for his “stern” lecture before the officer? I think the officer had a moral obligation to report the crime, even if it was but one touching, and he probably had a legal obligation to report a crime–I just don’t think he was technically a “mandatory reporter” at the time.

    In any event, please keep these people off of TV and away from my family.

  • Lighten up, Francis.

    And check your facts. Isn’t it true that this former police officer only gave Josh a “stern” talking-to? I don’t think anyone has every reported that he interviewed any of the victims.

    But bend over backwards to absolve the Christian child molester if you must, it is your right.

  • Greg, I think that was Betty’s point. Not only did the officer not do his duty but he made an obvious lie about it as well.

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