The other shoe dropped on Thursday night in the budding scandal surrounding the oldest member of America’s most famous babymaking family. Hours after the release of a police report detailing how he victimized five teenage girls during his younger years, Josh Duggar apologized for his actions and resigned his post with the Family Research Council.
Early on Thursday night, In Touch magazine released a 33-page police report from the Springdale, Arkansas police department detailing how Josh sexually assaulted five girls when he was about 14 years old. Although his name was redacted due to the fact he was a minor at the time, it has been confirmed that he was the subject of the report. The report, compiled in 2006, makes for horrifying reading. In March 2002, Josh’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, were alerted that Josh had fondled a girl while she slept. Jim Bob and Michelle “disciplined” Josh for his behavior, but didn’t go to the police.
In March 2003, three other girls accused Josh of fondling them. However, Jim Bob didn’t go to the police about this incident either at first. Instead, he went to the elders of his church, and decided to send him to a “counseling program”–which Michelle subsequently admitted was really helping a family friend build houses. No one reported this to police for almost a year, even though some of Josh’s actions may have constituted felonies under Arkansas law. Even then, they only went to a state trooper who was a personal friend of the Duggars. That trooper, Jim Hutchens, only gave Josh a “very stern talk.” Police interviewed several of the victims in December 2006, who said Josh victimized them by touching their breasts and sexual organs.
In an attempt to get in front of the budding scandal, Josh gave a statement to People magazine in which he apologized for having “acted inexcusably” as a teenager. He offered an unreserved apology for his actions, saying that he understood that he would “end up ruining my life” if he kept this up. He also announced his resignation as executive director of Family Research Council Action. Jim Bob and Michelle said that their son had made “some very bad mistakes” as a teenager, but it caused them to “seek God like never before.” Um, Jim Bob and Michelle? These weren’t mistakes. These were crimes.
After this, it’s hard to see how TLC can possibly defend keeping “19 Kids and Counting” on the air. I’ve come to expect tone-deaf behavior from fundies. But sitting on a horrible crime like this is beyond the pale. Despite this, several fans on the show’s Facebook page are already screaming that the Duggars are being persecuted. I wonder if they’d sing a different tune if their daughters were victimized in this way.