Five Women Sue Fundamentalist Ministry With Duggar Family Ties
By Zach Seemayer
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The Institute in Basic Life Principles, a fundamentalist Christian organization, which was frequently linked to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting, is facing controversy yet again.
As reported by The Washington Post, a group of five women have filed a lawsuit against the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian ministry based in Oak Brook, Illinois, claiming that the religious organization and its leadership covered up allegations of sexual abuse and harassment made by participants in the ministry's various programs.
Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees and a plaintiff who filed under the pseudonym Jane Doe, are seeking $50,000 in damages, and allege that the IBLP conspired to conceal wrongdoings and abuse.
The Duggar parents have long had ties to the IBLP, and have been outspoken members of the ministry's homeschooling program known as the Advanced Training Institute. The ministry and its services were frequently mentioned on the TLC reality show, which was cancelled in the wake of the Josh Duggar sexual abuse scandal.
In February 2014, IBLP founder and president Bill Gothard was placed on indefinite administrative leave by the organization's board of directors after he was accused of sexually harassing a number of female employees. Gothard later voluntarily resigned from his position.
Gothard, now 80, has maintained his innocence, and has long denied any charges of sexual misconduct.
According to attorney David Gibbs III, who is representing the plaintiffs in the suit, several attempts were made by the five women to address their concerns with the ILBP board of directors, but their complaints and allegations fell on deaf ears.