Josh & Jim Bob Duggar: Can They Be Prosecuted Now In Sexual Molestation Case?

HollywoodLife.com talked to criminal defense attorneys in the Duggars' hometown in Arkansas and they EXCLUSIVELY revealed what trouble Josh could get into for allegedly molesting minors as a teen. Plus, they discuss Jim Bob's involvement, or lack thereof. Josh Duggar, 27, was the subject of a police investigation in 2006, when he was accused of “forcibly fondling” five different girls, some of whom are his sisters, as a teen. The 19 Kids and Counting star was never prosecuted, but now that the investigation has been brought to light, we couldn't help but wonder if he'll face criminal charges. Jim Bob Duggar also waited more than a year after his son confessed to sexually molesting the five minors before contacting police, so we found out if he could now be prosecuted as well. Here's what we know!

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Q: Could Josh and Jim Bob be prosecuted now or has the statute of limitations expired?

A: It is likely that the statute of limitations have expired for any offenses that might have been committed. The allegations against Josh would most likely have been prosecuted as sexual assault in the second degree (A.C.A. section 5-14-125), defined as sexual conduct with a person less than fourteen years old by a person who is under the age of eighteen. This is a class B felony. The statute of limitations for a class B felony is three years. The statute of limitations is extended if the offense is committed against a minor. In that case, the three years does not begin until the victim turns eighteen. However, this exception only applies if the offense was not previously reported to a law enforcement agency. From what we know, these alleged offenses occurred thirteen years ago and were reported at least twelve years ago,” Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Files tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY.

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Q: What, if any, criminal charges can either man face?

A: “At this point, it does not appear that either man should be facing any criminal charge, based on the statute of limitations. It is possible that neither was subject to criminal prosecution at the time. Nothing in the facts as reported would indicate that Josh’s father was a mandatory reporter, meaning that he was under no legal obligation to report a suspected crime,” Jason says.

Q: Would these victims need to now come forward to police again to build a case against Josh and/or his father?

A: “It appears that these allegations were reported and investigated in 2006. Reporting the same allegations at this time would not likely have any effect. If there were other cases involving minors that were not reported previously, they could potentially fall into the exception to the statute of limitations,” Jason says.

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Q: Is Josh on the sexual offender registry?

A: “Nothing I have seen indicates that Josh was ever convicted of any crime, so he should not be on the sex offender registry,” Jason says.

“Josh Duggar is not considered a sexual offender, unless he was convicted in a court of law of a sexual crime as an adult,” Arkansas lawyer Jeffrey M. Rosenzweig also told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY.

Q: Is Jim Bob liable for not bringing this to the attention of police soon enough?

A: “Generally speaking, there is no duty to report suspected crimes,” Jason says.

“Jim Bob Duggar did not commit a crime because of withholding information about his son’s sexual misconduct. There is no general requirement to report a crime unless you’re a mandatory reporter, meaning by law you have to report a crime due to your profession such as a teacher, a doctor, a nurse,” Jeffrey M. Rosenzweig adds.

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Q: If Jim Bob brought it to the church, and those ministers didn’t say a word, could charges be brought against them?

A: “Only persons designated as “mandatory reporters” are under a legal obligation to report suspected abuse of a child. Clergy are mandatory reporters and do have a legal duty to report suspected child maltreatment. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor criminal offense. There are two exceptions for clergy– they are not required to report if their knowledge comes from communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to to their religious discipline, or if it is received from the offender in the context of an admission. The statute of limitations for misdemeanors is one year, so any potential criminal prosecution is likely time-barred,” Jason says.

What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Should Josh and Jim Bob get in trouble for what they did? Should 19 Kids and Counting get cancelled? Tell us how you feel.

— Chris Rogers, Reporting by Eric Ray & Sandra Clark

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