Josh Duggar claims that media reports about molesting his sisters caused him 'severe emotional distress'
Jill, Jessa, Jinger and Joy Duggar filed a lawsuit against In Touch Weekly for publishing details about them being molested by their older brother -- and now, in a bizarre development, that same brother is attempting to join in on the lawsuit, citing "severe emotional distress."
Josh Duggar and his family have acknowledged that he molested four sisters as well as another young woman when they were children. The information was kept secret until In Touch published a bombshell report detailing the disturbing family history in 2015.
Last month, the Duggar sisters filed a breach-of-privacy lawsuit seeking damages against the magazine and Arkansas law enforcement for publicly disclosing police documents about the case. The documents were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Friday, June 2, Josh Duggar filed a motion asking to formally join the case, citing "severe emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and economic harm both to his personal and professional reputations" as result of the publicity.
In the motion, Josh says that while his sisters received worldwide support following the published reports, Josh did not receive any public consolation: "The released reports ... will continue to haunt him and cause him financial and emotional injury for the rest of his life."
It's an odd update to an already-odd lawsuit: The Duggars' claims are based on an Arkansas law regarding the disclosure of information involving minors. However, In Touch didn't identify the minors -- they identified themselves. In Touch seemingly complied with these privacy laws, omitting the names of Josh's victims. His youngest victim was five years old at the time of the abuse.
Jessa and Jill identified themselves as two of the victims during a televised interview with Megyn Kelly, while Jinger and Joy have now confirmed their identities by filing the lawsuit. The fifth victim is still unidentified.
The lawsuit claims that In Touch identified the sisters as victims by including the names of their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the patriarchs featured on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting." In Touch did not legally have to redact Jim Bob and Michelle's names as they were not minors. As the TV title suggests, the two are parents of 19 children, thus complicating assertions that the four girls were easily identifiable.
Separate from the sexual abuse scandal, Josh made headlines in past years after he was exposed as an avid user of Ashley Madison, a website for men seeking affairs. His wife, Anna Duggar, is currently expecting their fifth child.