Duggar-Affiliated Homeschool Ministry Sued By Five Women Over Sexual Abuse

The Institute of Basic Life Principles has been a leader in the Christian homeschooling movement since the 60s. It has devoted supporters among Conservative politicians and other scumbags like the Duggars. It’s whole program is meant to raise wholesome, chaste, bible believing Christians unfamiliar with worldly things such as condoms and evolution.

And, as we’ve previously mentioned, IBLP’s founder Bill Gothard has a little bit of a problem with sexual harassment and abuse of women as young as 13 and 14 years old. He resigned last year after over 30 women accused him of sexual misconduct–although an “internal investigation” cleared him of wrongdoing. Now, five of those women are striking back, and suing IBLP for having “enabled and covered up sexual abuse and harassment of interns, employees, and other participants in its programs.”

Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees and a Jane Doe are all seeking $50,000 in damages from the organization, claiming that not only did they ignore Gothard’s misconduct, but also engaged in a conspiracy to cover it up.

Here is a list of the claims being brought against IBLP in the lawsuit:

  • Failed to adequately train and/or supervise their staff, including management/supervisory staff and/or have appropriate policies and procedures in place to prevent and/or deter sexual abuse, harassment, or inappropriate/unauthorized touching of young female interns, employees, and participants in IBLP programs;
  • Despite defendant IBLP’s prior knowledge of allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment being committed against its participants, interns, and employees, many of whom were under eighteen years of age at the times of the sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate/unauthorized touching, IBLP failed to report these allegations to law enforcement authorities… and said wrongful conduct was allowed to continue;
  • Despite decades of on-going sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching and credible reports thereof, Defendant IBLP failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations, and said wrongful conduct was allowed to continue;
  • When an investigation was finally conducted, IBLP conducted a sham investigation regarding the allegations of sexual abuse and harassment;
  • IBLP concealed allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment from scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services;
  • IBLP conducted an unreasonable investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse and harassment; and
  • IBLP was otherwise careless or negligent supervision of its staff, directors, agents, and employees during the relevant times herein.

Obviously, I’d prefer Gothard be sent to jail, but if this is the only current resource these women have? I say sue the hell out of them. The practice of covering up sexual abuse in these kinds of religious organizations is sickeningly common, as we saw in the case of Josh Duggar and in the cases of the many child-molesting priests in the Catholic Church, and it needs to stop. In this case, sunlight may be the best disinfectant.

[The Washington Post]