SPRINGDALE (KFSM) – A state senator from Northwest Arkansas is calling for the Springdale police chief to be fired over the recent release of a 2006 police report detailing accusations that Josh Duggar as a teenager molested five underage girls.
Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said the girls have been re-victimized now that the report is public. He said Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley acted recklessly in releasing the report and should be held accountable.
“The law to protect minors’ identities is not a suggestion,” Hester, pictured, said Saturday (May 23). “So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies.”
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said O’Kelley and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate determined after researching the matter that the report had to be released under law.
“From every indication I have the chief and city attorney reluctantly did what they had to do to comply with the state FOI (freedom of information) law,” Sprouse said Saturday (May 23).
The Springdale police report was obtained by In Touch Weekly magazine and posted on the magazine’s website this week. The names are redacted in the report. 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.
Duggar, who has appeared with his family in the TV reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” resigned from the Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council after the magazine’s story was released. The TLC cable and satellite network has since pulled the show from its television scheduling.
Duggar also issued a statement on the family’s Facebook page, saying, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
O’Kelley has previously announced she is retiring as police chief on June 30.
Hester questioned whether all child sex-crime victims in Springdale should be worried that their identities might now become public.
“Should they be concerned that Chief O’Kelley is going to release their information?” he asked.
Hester said the city faces potential legal issues over the matter.
“The city of Springdale’s liability seems endless on this,” he said. “I certainly anticipate criminal charges against Chief O’Kelley.”
The Springdale Police Department public information officer could not be immediately reached on Saturday morning (May 23) for comment.