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Ten women sue Duggar homeschooling guru for rape, sexual abuse and cover-up

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A lawsuit filed this week by ten women accuses Bill Gothard, founder of Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), of rape, sexual abuse and harassment.

The Duggars and other Christian homeschooling families attended Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute to learn his teachings. Gothard’s IBLP was also where Josh Duggar was sent by his parents after he admitted sexually abusing five girls, including four of his sisters.

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According to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the lawsuit, Gothard is accused of raping at least one of the ten women.

The Jane Doe plaintiff said that IBLP refused to go to the authorities after she reported that she had been raped by her father and other relatives. She also told IBLP that her father had sold her through human trafficking.

The woman said that Gothard contacted her father to ask if the allegations were true. The father denied the charges and Gothard threatened the Jane Doe for not obeying her father even if she was being sexually abused, the lawsuit said.

Gothard and another counselor at the IBLP training center forced the woman to have sex without her consent, according to the lawsuit. The woman said that she notified IBLP through an email in 2003, but nothing was done.

David Gibbs III, attorney for the plaintiff, said that his client and the counselor’s adopted daughter, who also alleges she was raped, took the case to local police but the charges were never pursued.

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The 81-year-old Gothard was forced out of his ministry last year after over 30 women came forward with allegations that he molested and sexually harassed co-workers.

When contacted by The Washington Post, Gothard insisted that the charges were “not true.”

“Oh no. Never never. Oh! That’s horrible,” he told the paper. “Never in my life have I touched a girl sexually. I’m shocked to even hear that.”

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“I’d rather hold off to comment until I see what’s in the lawsuit,” Gothard added.

Gawker noted that the attorney for the plaintiffs accused IBLP of conducting a phony investigation into Gothard’s history of abuse.

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The lawsuit said that IBLP was attempting to liquidate $100 million in assets and holdings in Illinois, where much of the abuse was said to have occurred. The ministry plans to move to Texas.

The lawsuit asks for $50,000 in damages for each of the ten plaintiffs: Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees, Melody Fedoriw, Jamie Deering, Ruth Copley Burger and three Jane Does. A hearing is scheduled for January 14.


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