19 Kids and Counting
When Josh Duggar was 14 years old, he admitted to sexually molesting his sisters and a baby sitter. He committed at least seven acts of sexual molestation, according to a new police report.
Josh confessed to his father Jim Bob Duggar on three separate occasions and his parents waited at least 16 months before telling police, even though his behaviour was ongoing and getting worse, police allege. During that period, his parents did not get professional counselling for Josh or his sisters.
In March 2002, Josh went to his father very upset and crying and said he had been sneaking into his sisters' bedroom at night and touching them on the breasts and vaginal areas. The fondling was done over the girls' clothes, except in two cases, and happened when the girls were sleeping Jim Bob said.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar could have faced a jail sentence for not telling authorities and not doing more to protect their daughters from what they knew was going on in their home.
But in Jim Bob's eyes, they did do something about it. He took the problem to his church elders and it was decided that Josh should enter a treatment program and spent four months in Little Rock helping a family friend remodel a building.
When he came home, his father decided it was time to tell the police so he took Josh to see a family friend - State Trooper Joseph Hutchens - who is currently serving 56 years in prison. Hutchens said that Jim Bob and Josh told him about only one incident and that's why he didn't report it to child abuse hotline.
At one point, Jim Bob stopped cooperating with police, refused to turn Josh in for an interview and hired an attorney.
Jessa Duggar, one of the sisters involved and featured in the reality show defended her brother about allegations that he was a child molester and paedophile. "They are so overboard and a lie" she said.
Josh and his wife are expecting their fourth child
Josh Duggar, now married and expecting his fourth child apologised for his bad behaviour two weeks ago when the story broke and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.
"I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions" he wrote online. "In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
This very private family scandal came to light by accident.
Someone in the church borrowed a book from the Duggars and found a note inside detailing Josh's molestations and sent it to Oprah. No charges were laid because the statute of limitations had by then run out.
To get nineteen children through puberty into adulthood unscathed would be almost impossible in today's world, and I see many more headaches ahead for this family.