According to In Touch, the Arkansas Department of Human Services opened a new investigation into the Duggar family last month, soon after the news first emerged that Josh Duggar sexually molested several of his sisters and another girl when he was a teenager. In Touch is the celebrity gossip magazine that originally broke the Josh Duggar story.
The magazine has obtained a transcript of a May 27 call to 911 made by a Washington County DHS worker requesting police assistance in conducting an investigation into what sounds to be an allegation of child maltreatment:
After identifying himself as a Washington Country DHS employee and stating the Duggar family address, the caller tells the 911 operator, “We have an investigation and I guess they’re not being cooperative. We have to see the child to make sure the child is all right. So we just need police assistance.”
In Touch says it is publishing the full transcript of the emergency call in its new issue. It also notes that the Duggars, despite their recent TV appearances, have not mentioned anything about a new DHS investigation.
It’s important to recognize that these new allegations — which likely originated with a call to the state’s child abuse hotline — emerged after the Duggar story blew up. But that doesn’t mean the allegations, whatever they might be, are therefore necessarily baseless. It’s easy to imagine a random person reading the In Touch story, then calling the hotline and making spurious claims about the family. However, it’s just as possible that someone who actually does have firsthand knowledge of the family read the story and decided that it was time to come forward. We simply don’t know.
Let’s be clear: Just because DHS has been investigating the Duggars again doesn’t mean the allegations will be substantiated. We also have no idea what those allegations even are; no one should jump to conclusions. But in order for a child maltreatment investigation to be opened in the first place, there has to be at least something remotely credible about the information given to authorities.
Last year, the child abuse hotline screened out approximately half the calls it received. According to legislative testimony given last month by the State Police’s Crimes Against Children Division, the hotline received 63,563 calls in 2014, and 31,110 of those were “valid maltreatment reports,” meaning they were accepted for investigation.