Just this week reports were made public revealing that Josh Duggar, the 27 year old son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (stars of the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting) was accused of molesting several minors over a decade ago, including some of his own sisters. Josh issued a statement after resigning from his job at the Family Research Council (a conservative Christian organization that is classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center). To give you an idea why, in 2010 the FRC paid thousands of dollars to lobbyists in support of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a bill nicknamed the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ which initially proposed the death penalty for those engaged in same-sex relationships in Uganda. Very Christian, no? I digress, but it’s disgusting how easy it is for others to pass judgement on what they consider ‘sexual deviancy’ while they employed a man accused of molesting underaged girls. It is clear that the entire Duggar family has been involved in an elaborate coverup, which enabled Josh to continue to sexually molest his sisters and other young women for months while they did not contact the police or seek adequate counseling. In Touch magazine provided a detailed timeline of the events. Let us begin:
Jim Bob and Michelle Knew but Failed to Act.
In March of 2002, a female victim (perhaps one of Josh’s sisters?) informed Jim Bob that Josh (then only 14 years old) had fondled her breasts and genitals while she slept. Jim Bob does nothing. In July of 2002, Josh admits this to his father and apparently is disciplined by them. Why is there a FOUR month gap? Why did the Duggars not address the situation immediately?
In March of 2003, Josh is once again accused by several girls of the same behavior. At this time Jim Bob decides to meet with the church elders to inform them of the situation but no one goes to the police or suggests that he do so. So in the year that Jim Bob and Michele knew about their son molesting their own daughters, they did nothing and allowed more of their children to be assaulted. If you’re not going to protect your children or give a damn about what happens to them, why don’t you stop having them?
From March 17-July 17, 2003 Josh is enlisted in a “treatment program” where he received counseling for his actions. Okay, well, this is a step in the right direction for the Duggars, right? Only problem is that this so called “treatment program” actually consisted of Josh staying with a family friend in Arkansas who owned a home-remodeling business and not receiving any counseling whatsoever. Michelle Duggar later admits this to law enforcement, including that Josh had apologized to the girls he assaulted and they had forgiven him completely. Guess that clears it up! Awesome parenting Michelle Duggar. Cause god knows that after a history of repeated sexual violations, your son just needed to apologize.
When Josh returns home, the family and church elders take him to speak with the Arkansas state trooper (and personal friend of the Duggars) Jim Hutchens for what In Touch magazine describes as a “very stern talk.” Who better than Hutchens to discuss sexual deviancy with young Josh? I mean only four years later he is convicted on child pornography charges, of which he is currently serving a 56 year sentence for. What.the.fuck. How is this real? How could two parents be so incompetent?
In 2004 the Duggar family first appears on television.
It isn’t until 2006 that a letter detailed Josh Duggar’s molestation of underaged girls is revealed and when Michelle and Jim Bob schedule their appearance on Oprah an unidentified woman emails the show exposing the allegations against Josh. Harpo Studios, who produce the show, faxed the email to the Department of Human Services hotline which leads to the police FINALLY investigating the claims against Josh Duggar.
Side note: Oprah is amazing.
In December of 2006 the Springdale police department open an investigation. The Duggars refuse to allow Josh to be interviewed and attempt to hire a lawyer to represent them (two of which refused). Police were unable to file charges because of a three year statute of limitations.
It wasn’t until May 21, 2015 that In Touch magazine published the police reports they gained access to through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The entire family has since issued statements. Josh’s reads:
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. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.
The part that sticks out the most might be the claim that Jim Bob and Michelle arranged for Josh “and those affected by [his] actions to receive counseling.” Michelle has already admitted to flat out lying about Josh receiving any such thing, and I’m sure that they way they’ve disregarded their own daughters and Josh’s other victims that the minors assaulted were left to suffer silently rather than create a family scandal.
On May 22, 2015 TLC pulls 19 Kids and Counting from their network.
LGBT activist, Dan Savage most aptly addresses all the feels I have about this:
The Duggar’s have focused their attack on “trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.”
OMG, YES. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar = huge hypocrites! Huffington Post also references a robocall narrated by Michelle Duggar that urges citizens of Fayetteville to speak out against an anti-discrimination proposal in which she argues, “I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child.”
Funny, because this is exactly what Michelle and Jim Bob allowed to happen to their own daughters. They failed to protect four of their daughters, who ranged between the ages of 5 and 12. The prioritized the safety of Josh, a 15 year old boy, practically a man in the eyes of the Jim Bob and Michelle, rather than addressing the accusations earlier and preventing several further assaults.
Shame on the Duggar family, for their hateful agenda, their hypocrisy, and their decision to protect Josh rather than their little girls, who reported having him molest them in their sleep and against their will multiple times. Their failure to act only made Josh take bigger risks, assaulting them while completely awake. I can only pray that Josh’s three small children are safe from their father, who is, no doubt, a predator. But seeking real justice would have meant not prostituting their entire family, not making money off of every new birth, every engagement, courtship, and marriage. It’s funny when those who claim to be the most humble, the most devoted only end up being the most morally barren.