If you haven't been following the media, here's a quick recap of the Duggar drama.
Josh Duggar, the eldest child of the 19 Duggar children, as a teenager, molested five people, including four of his younger sisters. This is bad enough, but he told his parents about it, who did not immediately stop it, get Josh help or go to the police. Eventually they did go to a police officer, but nothing was put on record, and the police officer is now in jail for child pornography charges. Josh did get help, but at a Christian counseling organization. Eventually a police report was filed, but it was very much after the fact, and the statute of limitations had run out.
The family, portrayed on 19 Kids and Counting, a TLC show, issued statements of apology. Josh apologized, his wife Anna said she was aware of the issues that occurred and said Josh has repented, and family members have shown support. But the public - and advertisers - are not as forgiving. The show has been pulled off the air at this time.
Here's a recap of the interview:
Jim Bob said at the age of 14, Josh came to him crying, saying he'd improperly touched some of his sisters. Michelle said it was positive that Josh came to them and it was positive that he showed remorse. She said she felt as if she and Jim Bob had failed as parents. Josh explained his actions by saying he was curious about girls, and he touched them over their clothes as they slept. They were not even aware of Josh's actions. Jim Bob said they talked to the girls to ensured that nothing else had happened; they hadn't and learned of it from their discussions with Jim Bob and Michelle. At this point, he'd only touched two of the sisters.
Here's where Jim Bob stumbled - he said he didn't really tell the girls what happened until some other things has happened. Which means that they let things happen further, even though they're not saying it. They said they tried to deal with this in house, and looking back, they said the best they could at the time. They admitted that they didn't know what to do. Jim Bob said he then watched Josh all of the time, punished Josh - Jim Bob even took Josh to work with him.
Jim Bob said at this point, they safeguarded the girls' bedrooms so this couldn't happen again. The next incidents occurred when the girls were lying on a couch. Josh touched their breasts over their clothes while they slept. Jim Bob then said a lot of similar things happen in their families.
Megyn Kelly asked how the parents felt when they found out the behavior had resumed. They said Josh admitted a few more wrongdoings and they were devastated. Jim Bob reiterated that this was mostly touching over clothes. A few times it was under clothes "but only for a few seconds" (per Jim Bob). After a few more incidents, Jim Bob talked this over with close friends, and decided to pull Josh out of the home. Jim Bob had known someone who ran a training center, and he would take Josh in and counsel him and have him do construction work.
When asked why he didn't get Josh help right away, Jim Bob said that they talked to someone who worked at a facility for youth sex offenders, and was told the success rate wasn't good. So they decided to try to heal Josh's heart first, which is why sent him to the training facility.
Jim Bob, when asked, said parents are not required by law to report their kids to the police in situations like these. They are given the option to do what's best for their child. Jim Bob maintained that he made the right decision, because at this training facility, Josh "broke" and asked God for forgiveness.
Megyn Kelly returned to the topic of the molestations, and the fact that some occurred while the girls were awake. Jim Bob and Michelle said the kids probably didn't even realize it was inappropriate touch.
Megyn asked what it was like before Josh was sent away because the girls were aware of what Josh was doing to them. Jim Bob and Michelle said they tried to keep things as normal as possible. They also told the girls that if anything happened, they should let them know. They also put up boundaries and safeguards in their home.
The Duggars were asked if they ever felt torn about protecting Josh versus protecting their daughters, and they spoke about a bible verse where the shepherd had to protect all the sheep, including one who went astray. They meant that they tried to help everyone at once. They eventually realized Josh had to leave the home. Jim Bob reiterated that the ray of hope is that Josh came to them and showed remorse. He also reiterated that the girls didn't even realize they'd been the victims of inappropriate touch. The parents said they wondered if they could have done more training to stop this, but that kids will do what they're going to do no matter what.
Jim Bob talked about how worse things have happened in other families, and it was confirmed that four daughters and one babysitter were affected. Josh called the babysitter to apologize, but she hadn't been aware that anything had happened.
Megyn asked if there was more therapy for Josh and the girls. The answer was yes, when Josh returned home, Jim Bob brought Josh to the police department to confess. They brought a witness and didn't know what would happen. Josh confessed everything. The Duggars did not know anything about the officer's future child pornography charges. Jim Bob made it sound like he didn't know the guy, although news reports I've read made it sound like Jim Bob knew him. The officer, from jail, actually said he knew about only one incident so that's why he didn't report it. He did, at the time, give Josh a strict warning, saying he could ruin his life.
The topic returned to counseling. It turns out that all children received professional counseling. Josh paid for his own counseling. The parents felt that once Josh went back into the home, he was no longer a threat. Josh was a changed person and there were still safeguards in place. Things were different - boys weren't allowed to babysit, they don't play hide and seek, girls don't sit on boys' laps, etc.
In 2006, with the family in Chicago and ready to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show, someone sent info about these charges to Harpo Productions, and they were forwarded to police. It was confirmed that no abuse had occurred after counseling had been completed.
A big question was asked - what would make you sign on for a reality TV show, given this past incident? A magazine had actually approached Michelle asking if they could write a story about their family. When asked if they were concerned about past issues coming out, they were not concerned, because in their minds, this was all closed. These issues had happened five years before, and everything was sealed and closed out. They were sure this would not get out.
Jim Bob and Michelle were asked how they felt when the news of Josh's molestation came out without any warning. Jim Bob said that he hopes that this helps people realize that God forgave Josh and will forgive others. The Duggars do not know of any motivation the police chief would have had to release this information. Michelle said it definitely wasn't in any way to help the victims, which is true. At one time, Josh had met this person and said hi, and she wouldn't speak to him. This chief had said she had a few things to do before retirement, and this must have been one of them. Jim Bob didn't seem interested in suing, although he said this will make him an advocate for keeping juvenile records sealed so children's mistakes don't ruin their entire lives.
When asked how their daughters felt about this info coming out, they were shocked and crushed at first. They did not want this to be public, as any victim would not. Jim Bob said victims should have their chances to tell their own stories, not have them told in the media.
Megyn said that people are calling the family hypocrites, including how Josh has spoken out about the family is conservative. Jim Bob said it's not something that Josh would announce up front. Megyn continued, saying that the family shouldn't be calling others sinners when they themselves are sinners. Jim Bob said that what Josh did was inexcusable but not unforgivable.
Michelle was addressed regarding her robocall, which said transgendered people could be child molesters, yet she had someone in her own home that had molested family members. Jim Bob stepped in saying Michelle's robocall was about pedophiles, but Josh wasn't because he too was a child. They can understand the critics' reaction, but Michelle said everyone has done things wrong. She said this issue is part of an agenda, and people are twisting things to hurt and slander.
The Duggars do think that the backlash has been greater towards them because people disagree with their beliefs. When asked what happens next, Jim Bob said he doesn't know if the whole family should be punished for the actions of one person 12 years ago, but the family will be fine either way. He does not know if the show will be cancelled. He reiterated that this info was released illegally, and Jim Bob wondered why the press isn't angry that this information was leaked illegally. He hopes justice will be served for the records being released.
Michelle said she was devastated because her children trusted the police. They told them everything, never thinking the tabloids would get the opportunity to share this in a scandalous way. They were victimized more this week than they had been when the incident happened because their secrets are now public. Michelle said she knows God will use all of this for good.
Next, we saw a preview Megyn talking to Jill and Jessa. Jill cried, and Jessa said the system failed them. That will air Friday, June 5th, at 9 PM.
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