The Statute of Limitations has expired and any chance of convicting Josh Duggar for his indiscretions is long past, so why is there so much fuss about the charges? Because it goes a lot deeper than a few teenage exploratory ‘touches.’
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have spent the last several years creating a wholesome image for their large family and for their often-criticized religious affiliation. The Duggars are members of a fringe sect of Christianity called ?Christian patriarchy,? an extreme far-right philosophy that promoted and rigidly adheres to a variety of rules that stand in contention with average American viewpoints. Their principles?include complete female submission, bans on dating, homeschooled education, rejection of higher education for women, and the shunning of contraception in favor of having as many children as possible.
The Duggar’s have used their fame as a means to bring their brand of conservatism to a nationwide audience. Thanks to the network formerly known as The Learning Channel, the Duggars have enjoyed the spoils of primetime cable television, giving their family frequent exposure and assisting in Jim Bob Duggar’s political ambitions.
However, a recent report found within the pages of In Touch has bolstered the national spotlight on Jim Bob, Michelle, and their family for another reason. Eldest son, Josh Duggar, has found his past racing back into his present, as a police report obtained by the publication detailed an investigation into allegations that Josh Duggar molested several underage girls, and his father, knowing of his son’s actions, did nothing about it for over a year.
The Abuse and the Coverup
According to the police report?obtained by In Touch, in March 2002, a female minor alerted Jim Bob Duggar that Josh, who turned 14-years-old that month, had been touching her breasts and genitalia while she slept. The assaults had taken place on multiple occasions.
The following July, Josh Duggar admitted to his parents that he had molested a female minor while she slept. According to statements made by Jim Bob Duggar in 2006, Josh was disciplined afterward, but the family did not alert authorities to the allegations and subsequent admission by Josh.
In March 2003, another female minor went to Jim Bob Duggar and informed him that Josh had molested her while she slept. Additional allegations would follow, prompting Jim Bob Duggar to consult church elders on the matter. In lieu of alerting the authorities, Jim Bob and the church elders instead decided the best course of action for then 15-year-old Josh was to send to a ?Christian program? that ?consisted of hard physical work and counseling.?
Josh would spend four months away.
Michelle Duggar later?stated that Josh Duggar had been sent to a counseling program, but he had really been sent to stay with a family friend who remolded homes. Michelle admitted the family friend was not a counselor and when probed further, stated he was ?kind of? a mentor.
Joseph T. Hutchens
In 2003, following Josh’s return home, Jim Bob Duggar and several church elders took Josh to Arkansas State Trooper Joseph T. Hutchens. Instead of taking procedural action against Josh, Hutchens gave Josh a ?very stern talk? on the matter.
Hutchens would never follow up?with the Duggars on the matter.
Hutchens? name would surface again in 2007, when he was convicted on child pornography charges. Hutchens was paroled in 2010, but almost immediately was arrested again and charged with four counts of distribution, possession, or viewing of sexually explicit material involving a child.
He is currently serving a 60 year sentence and is not eligible for parole until 2020.
In 2006, when the family was set to appear on Oprah, Harpo Studios received an anonymous email informing them of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar. Harpo Studios quickly faxed the email to the Department of Human Services hotline, a move which would ultimately coincide with the discovery of Joseph T. Hutchens? role in the allegations and alert the Springdale Police Department.
Springdale police officially launched an investigation into the allegations surrounding Josh Duggar soon afterward. They approached Jim Bob and Josh Duggar for questioning. Jim Bob refused and lawyered up, informing Det. Darrel Hignite that an attorney had been hired and an interview was not going to take place.
In December 2006, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by Springdale Police as part of the investigation, during which Jim Bob admitted he was aware of the allegations against Josh Duggar and did not come to the authorities with any of the information he was being given.
Police also interviewed the girls who alleged they were molested by Josh Duggar. The girls told police that Josh Duggar had fondled their breasts and genitalia. One of the alleged victims further told police that Josh told ?mother and dad what had happened? and that he had ?asked for their forgiveness.? She also said Josh had ?sought after God and had turned back to God.?
Soon afterward, the statute of limitations ran out, completely derailing the felony molestation case being built against Josh Duggar.
In Touch broke the story of Josh Duggar’s molestation allegations in this week’s issue of the magazine. They had obtained a copy of the Springdale Police Department’s report surrounding the allegations via a Freedom of Information Act request.
On May 21, 2015, after the In Touch story had caught like wildfire and become national news, one of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims ? identified only as ?Jane Doe? ? asked a judge to protect her identity. According to news that broke on TMZ, the judge signed an order that afternoon that called for all of the names and details surrounding Josh Duggar’s molestation case be destroyed, preventing a possible unredacted copy of the police report from coming to light in the future.
Also, on May 21, 2015, Josh Duggar responded to the publicized allegations by admitting the events did take place. He also resigned his position with the Family Research Council. In a statement released to?People?magazine, Josh Duggar said:
“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 whole life.”
Another question raised in regard to the Duggars is whether they will remain on TLC following this revelation. Last fall, the network announced the cancellation of hit-program Here Comes Honey Boo Boo after it came to light that June Shannon had started dating?a former boyfriend, registered sex offender Mark McDaniel. With similar subject matter and controversy, perhaps TLC will follow its own precedent and toss the Duggars into the realm of cancellation. No one can, at this time, say for sure.
Everyone has skeletons in their closet. Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh Duggar are no exception.