SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- The mayor of Springdale released a statement Monday (June 8) in response to suggestions of misconduct by Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley after the police department released an incident report regarding sexual molestation allegations that were made against Josh Duggar of "19 Kids & Counting."
In his statement, Mayor Doug Sprouse writes:
"The City will not dignify suggestions of misconduct in this matter by Chief O'Kelley with any comment beyond labeling them as outrageous and categorically false. Chief O'Kelley is a dedicated public servant whose career in law enforcement has been committed to duty and the adherence to the law."
The statement comes after former Springdale alderman Ray Dotson filed a complaint with the Civil Service Commission on June 2 regarding the release of the Duggar incident report. In his complaint, Dotson asks the commission to see if any laws have been broken.
Sprouse's statement goes on to list the steps the city went through following a Freedom of Information Act request for the incident report:
- The City complied with each and every requirement of the FOIA with respect to the request for records.
- Upon notification of the request for information pursuant to the FOIA request, the Chief of Police referred the matter to the Springdale City Attorney for an opinion as to whether the requested records were subject to public disclosure under the FOIA. As part of due diligence and in order to thoroughly analyze the request, the City also contacted the Arkansas Municipal League, the Arkansas State Police, the Washington County Juvenile Prosecuting Attorney within the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and made unsuccessful attempts to contact appropriate officials within the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
- Out of courtesy with respect to the release of information in potentially sensitive situations, the Police Chief directed the family be notified of the FOIA request. The Police Chief further directed that the family be kept regularly informed as to the status of the request; the City's analysis of the request and any action the City would take with respect to the request, including notification to the family that the City had an obligation under the FOIA law to release the redacted report.
- Subsequently and consistent with and pursuant to advice of legal counsel, the City Attorney determined that the record-- after thorough redaction-- was subject to release under the FOIA.
- Prior to release, the record went through several rounds of review that included redaction of the names of minors and all potentially identifying pronouns.
- The Springdale Police Department files in this case are not part of juvenile proceedings, had not been sealed or expunged, and at the time the report was filed the person listed in the report was an adult, not a juvenile.
Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate also released a statement on the matter June 4.
In Touch Weekly published the redacted 2006 incident report on May 21 prompting a response from Josh Duggar and his wife, Anna, as well as Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Josh Duggar also resigned from his position and the Washington D.C.-based Family Council following the publication of the report.
Also on May 21, Washington County Juvenile Judge Stacey Zimmerman issued a court order that the police report be destroyed and expunged from the public record to protect the identify of a minor sex-crime victim.
In Touch also obtained an incident report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office regarding the allegations made in the Springdale Police Department report and published it on June 3.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office released a statement the same day addressing why the report was released.
Police Chief O'Kelley will be retiring June 30 after she submitted a letter May 6 notifying the mayor of her retirement.
In his statement, Sprouse writes:
"With respect to the Police Chief's reference to "unfinished business" cited in her retirement letter, those issues relate to issues of Departmental structure, organization and leadership succession planning and were no in reference to any case specific, including this one. Any suggestion or assertion otherwise is patently false."
On May 23 Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs called for Chief O'Kelley to be fired for releasing the incident report.