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Josh Duggar reportedly admitted to child molestation.
Josh Duggar is the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame. Twelve years ago, he allegedly molested five underage girls. This week he admitted it publicly after allegations of the abuse surfaced.
Many people may be wondering, can Josh face criminal charges now?
According to reports, Josh's actions haven't remained hidden all this time. The molestations were actually reported to the police twelve years ago. Josh claims that he confessed to his parents, and they notified authorities of the crimes. We do not know what if any criminal actions were taken against him at that time, but reports indicate that he has not been convicted of any crime.
Criminal Charges Now?
Arkansas' statute states, "A person commits sexual assault in the second degree if the person ... being a minor, engages with in sexual contact with another person who is less than 14 years of age." From the facts available, it is likely that Josh could be charged with sexual assault in the second degree. This is a Class B felony punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Statute of limitation
However, no new charges can now be brought against Josh. From the reported facts, it looks like the statute of limitation has passed.
A statute of limitation is a time limit of when charges can be brought for a crime. The statute of limitations for Class B felonies in Arkansas is three years. There is an exception when the victim is a minor. The statute of limitation does not start until the victim turns 18. So, Josh could have been charged with a crime up until his victims turned 21.
However, this exception only applies if the crime was not previously reported to the police. From reports, we know that the police were notified at least 12 years ago, so the exception does not apply.
Similarly, the statute of limitations has also passed for any civil lawsuits the victims might bring. In Arkansas, civil claims for childhood sexual abuse must be filed within 3 years of discovery of the abuse. For example, a child is abused, but, because of the trauma, does not remember the abuse until she turns 30. The victim would have three years since she remembered the abuse to file a lawsuit.
In this case, the victims apparently knew they were abused twelve years ago. If that is the case, the statute of limitations on any civil claims would have ended nine years ago.
Sadly, it appears Josh Duggar will face no punishments in any court except for the court of public opinion. Oh, and a loss of income. He has resigned his position with the Family Research Counsel and as of today, TLC has canceled 19 Kids and Counting.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.