Josh Duggar Responds To Claims Of Sexual Abuse, Says He "Acted Inexcusably”
According to a police report obtained by In Touch Weekly, 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar has been accused of sexual assault for molesting several female minors. The article reports that Josh was 14 years old at the time of the alleged sex offenses. Per In Touch, Josh confessed his actions to his father, Jim Bob Duggar, but Jim Bob did not go to the police until a year after Josh's confession. On Thursday, the Duggars responded to the sexual abuse accusations in a statement to People. According to Josh:
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.
"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," added parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, in their joint statement to People. "When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."
In 2006, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar reportedly spoke to the Springdale Police, where Jim Bob claimed a female minor told him in March 2002 that Josh had been sexually assaulting her while she slept. This reportedly happened on several occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob also allegedly told police that Josh admitted to fondling the girl's breasts while she was asleep. Apparently, Jim Bob told police that they disciplined Josh for his actions, but they did not go to the authorities. Then, In Touch reports that, about nine months later, in 2003, Jim Bob told police "there was another incident." Allegedly, another female minor accused Josh of touching her breasts and genitals. Josh reportedly sexually assaulted these minors while they slept, and also while they were awake.
After meeting with the police, In Touch claims Jim Bob “met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on.” Again, it is claimed that no one went to the police about the alleged sexual abuse, but the family sent Josh to a “program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling." Josh was reportedly in the "Christian program" from March 17, 2003 until July 17, 2003. Apparently, Michelle told police that her son never received counseling, but, rather, stayed with a family friend and "kind of" a mentor to Josh.
It's also been claimed that, after Jim Bob told the elders of his church about Josh's alleged sexual abuse, they all waited three months before contacting the authorities. Jim Bob, along with some of his church elders, reportedly took Josh to talk with an Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens, who was a friend of the family. Hutchens allegedly gave Josh a "very stern talk," but did not take any official action. In Touch reports that Hutchens was convicted for child pornography and is now serving a 56-year prison sentence. Reportedly, in 2006, the police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for questioning, but, after trying to hire a lawyer and failing, Jim Bob said Josh would not do the interview.
Furthermore, a "family friend" reportedly wrote a letter about Josh's alleged sexual abuse, but the Duggars wouldn't give police information about the letter. When the Duggars were set to appear on Oprah Winfrey's talk show in 2006, the show allegedly received an email alerting them about Josh's supposed sexual abuse history. Harpo Studios reportedly faxed the letter to the Department of Human Services hotline, resulting in the Springdale police opening an investigation.
"I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock," said Josh's wife, Anna, in her statement to People. "When my family and I first visited the Duggar home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even very difficult past mistakes."
On Thursday, TMZ reported that all documents surrounding Josh's molestation case will be destroyed, because one alleged victim wants her identity to remain secret. Reportedly, Josh "apologized" to the female minors and they have "forgiven" him. In Touch also reports that police could not pursue charges due to the three-year statute of limitations. "I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions," said Josh in his statement on Thursday. "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."
TLC tells Bustle they have "no comment" in regard to the allegations surrounding Josh Duggar, what the fate of the show is, and whether or not Josh will continue on 19 Kids And Counting.
Image: Josh Duggar/Instagram