A 2006 police report obtained by the gossip outlet In Touch revealed that Josh Duggar of TLC’s reality show 19 Kids and Counting allegedly sexually assaulted four of his female siblings and an additional female victim.
Duggar, now 27 and the oldest of his siblings, was 14 at the time. According to the police report, family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, 49, first learned of his son engaging in this behavior in 2002, when a female victim told him the boy had touched her breasts and genital area on multiple occasions while she was sleeping.
Jim Bob learned of other incidents. At the advice of his church elders, Josh’s parents sent him away for three months in 2003 to work for and be mentored by a family friend.
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Jim Bob addressed the issued with an Arkansas state trooper in 2003, who then explained to Josh what could happen to him if he continued down his current path.
The local police were made aware of these incidents a few years later in 2006 through a family acquaintance, and multiple family members were brought in for questioning.
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No other incidents happened after Josh’s return to the family in 2003, the Duggars told local police. No charges were filed. The Duggars arranged for their son and the victims to receive counseling.
In a statement to People magazine, Josh admitted his wrongdoing:
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.
Following the revelation of his wrongdoing, Josh decided to resign from his position at the Family Research Council. The FRC issued a short statement from the organization’s president, Tony Perkins:
Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years.
Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.
Jim Bob and Josh’s mother, Michelle, 48, issued a joint statement, which reads in part:
Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.
Josh’s wife Anna, 26, said he had told her and her parents two years before he proposed marriage of his “past teenage mistakes.” The two have been married since 2008 and have three children together–and are expecting their fourth in July.
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Anna expressed confidence in him and what he told her about the counseling he received at the time, which he said changed his life. In a statement, she said, “[I know] who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right.”
Josh expressed his faith in God’s redemptive power, as well. “I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
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