On Wednesday, Fox News’s Megyn Kelly exclusively interviewed the Duggars—an Arkansas family that rose to national fame in 2004 with a television show on TLC, “19 Kids and Counting.” But the family has been in the news recently after a tabloid released a sealed police report, revealing sexual abuse allegations within the family.
The family founded themselves on family and conservative Christian principles, so it was a shock when In Touch Weekly reported May 19th the oldest of the Duggar kids, Josh Duggar, was the subject of a sexual abuse investigation involving his younger sisters.
According to Kelly, on May 21st, an illegally released police report was published saying Josh had inappropriately touched five young girls, some of which were his own sisters.
The parents first learned of the inappropriate touching in 2002; they tried to handle it “in house” but were unsuccessful.
“Our son Josh came to us on his own, and he was crying,” Jim Bob Duggar, the father of the family told Kelly. Josh had just turned 14 years old, and he said he improperly touched some of his sisters.
“We were shocked, we were just devastated,” said Michelle, the mother, adding that as parents they had felt like failures.
“He said he was just curious about girls,” said Jim Bob. None of the girls knew about the touching because they were sleeping, according to the parents. Josh had touched the girls’s breasts over the clothes while they slept, they said.
A couple incidents later occurred when he touched them under the clothes—for few seconds—but then Josh again came to his parents and confessed to what he had done.
After the third incident, they decided to get outside help, realizing the family couldn’t solve the issue alone, but they decided on a Christian training camp instead of sending him to a juvenile detention center.
“I talked to somebody that worked at one of those juvenile youth sex offender facilities… and the success rate is not very good, so we felt like going from a perspective of really reaching his heart first would be important,” said Jim Bob.
The parents decided instead to send Josh to outside training and professional counseling but eventually came to the decision that Josh must confess to the police, and he did. Josh confessed to the Arkansas State Police, but no arrest was made.
The officer Josh originally broke to was arrested years later on child pornography charges—the Duggars had no idea of the officer’s problem when Josh originally confessed to him.
Later in 2006, an anonymous tip was sent to the police about what the Duggars’s son had done as they rose to fame; however, by that time, the statute of limitations had run on the earlier report, so no charges were ever filed.
“We had nothing to hide,” Jim Bob said when asked why they decided to do a reality show after all of this, adding that they had taken care of everything five years previously.”
Jim Bob said they were told “under law there is no way this could come out” because it was a a sealed juvenile record. The Duggars are currently speaking with lawyers about the illegal release of Josh’s juvenile record.
“There’s people that are purposing to try to bring things out and twisting them to try to hurt and slander,” Michelle said, explaining why she thinks all of this came out now—twelve years later.
“Our family is just trying to regroup from this attack,” Jim Bob said.
The Duggars did not confirm whether TLC has mentioned whether or not their show will be canceled, but Josh stepped down from his position at the Family Research Council in Washington D.C. after the news about his past was released.