A lawsuit that was filed in October, stunningly alleging the cover-up of a sex-abuse scandal involving minors at a longtime Christian ministry, has been expanded by the addition of five additional plaintiffs and a long list of new allegations.
WND originally reported that the civil lawsuit was filed in Illinois by the Gibbs Law Firm, and also alleges the defendant organization is “liquidating assets” totaling more than $100 million “in an attempt to flee the jurisdiction (state of Illinois) where this wrongful conduct occurred.”
The filing against the Institute in Basic Life Principles was accepted in DePage County, the state’s 18th Judicial District, and originally was on behalf of Gretchen Wilkinson, Jane Doe, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost and Rachel Lees.
In its latest filing, the plaintiffs attorneys added plaintiffs Jane Doe II, Melody Fedoriw, Jane Doe III, Jamie Deering and Ruth Copley.
The IBLP gained some of its fame by being seen frequently on the now-canceled reality show “19 Kids and Counting” portraying the Duggar family. It also, reports suggest, was where Josh Duggar was sent after it was alleged that while he was a teen, he molested his sisters.
The new complaint cites negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, willful and wanton conduct and civil conspiracy.
“Each of the individual plaintiffs were the victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching, many times while they were minors, at the hands of the IBLP, by and through its agents and employees, and suffered as a result thereof,” the new complaint explains.
“Much of the sexual abuse and harassment occurred while the plaintiffs were receiving counseling from the perpetrators/IBPL employees.”
The organization posted a statement in response, “The Institute takes very seriously any allegations of this nature, and above all else, is interested in determining the truth. We therefore welcome the structure and integrity of the court process as a means for determining the truth with respect to these allegations.”
The action explains Gothard and IBLP have a “duty under Illinois law to protect their participants from sexual abuse and from the psychological and emotional harm that results from sexual abuse.”
In an affidavit from Gothard dated in November, he explained he knew of the allegations and had agreed to meet with legal representatives for the women, but the board would not.
“I assume that the IBLP Board thought that the plaintiffs and their counsel were bluffing and that they would not sue. Obviously, that is not the case. … The IBLP Board has responded to this lawsuit unwisely and not even contacted me for information or assistance. The board is handling the case unwisely as I have the information they need. This is a shameful waste of donors’ money.”
He went further, in Exhibit B, a “confession and request,” also submitted with the updated complaint.
In the undated document, attached to the amended complaint, Gothard writes, “I have not only sinned against young ladies, but also against their parents and husbands by breaking a trust to protect them. Through the years, faithful individuals repeatedly warned me about my words and actions. I sinned by not following their counsel.”
Among the allegations is that a sex-abuse victim who came to Gothard’s organization for help was abused again there.
There also is an allegation that a woman was raped by a biblical counselor at the IBLP training center.
When the case first was filed, IBLP declined to respond to WND requests for comment.
As this is a civil lawsuit involving a legal dispute among private parties, IBLP officials are not accused of a crime. Gibbs Law Firm officials said there were no police complaints filed regarding the situations cited in the filing. The civil action is seeking $50,000 plus per plaintiff.
They said the lawsuit was being brought to “seek redress and damages for personal injuries based on the negligent and willful and wanton acts and omissions of the defendants with regard to sexual abuse and sexual harassment and similar allegations of malfeasance suffered by the plaintiffs.”
“It is very concerning that while we were trying to negotiate a resolution of our clients[‘] claims against IBLP, the organization suddenly announced plans to move its headquarters out of the Chicago area to the state of Texas,” attorney David Gibbs III told WND.
Individuals named as defendants in the complaint were the group’s directors, John Stancil, Anthony Burrus, Gil Bates, Timothy Levendusky, Stephen Paine and David York.
“On information and belief, at the relevant times to their claims, Defendant IBLP’s agents, employees and/or directors were aware or should have been aware of serious allegations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching occurring to certain IBLP’s interns, and/or employees, including but not limited to the plaintiffs, initiated by IBLP’s agents/employees, but neither the defendant IBLP nor its agents, employees or directors reported these serious, potentially criminal allegations to law enforcement authorities or the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, in accord with their duties and their statutory responsibilities,” the complaint states.