How Is Oprah Connected To The Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Allegations? Harpo Studios Repotedly Played A Huge Part
As reported by InTouch Weekly, Josh Duggar has been accused of sexual assault for allegedly molesting several female minors while he was also a minor, according to a report the publication obtained from the Springdale, Ark. Police Department. The 19 Kids and Counting star has since released a statement to People that reads, "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret." The allegations in the story are graphic and disturbing, including claims that Josh fondled girls while they slept, but there is another part of InTouch's report that might be confusing to some people. According to InTouch, a possible appearance by the Duggar family on Oprah Winfrey's show in 2006 led to Harpo Studios' involvement.
How exactly does Oprah's production company fit into this situation? According to the InTouch report, the Duggar family was supposed to appear on Oprah back in 2006, but allegedly, an email which explained the allegations against Josh was sent to the show by an anonymous 61-year-old woman. In response, Oprah's Harpo Studios allegedly passed the email on to the Department of Human Services hotline. Afterward, the report was opened for investigation by the Springdale Police Department. Bustle has reached out for comment from Harpo Studios, but has not yet heard back.
As InTouch reports, according to the 2006 police report, Josh's father, Jim Bob Duggar, told police he was alerted by a female minor accusing Josh of molestation back in 2002. Jim Bob allegedly told police that Josh admitted this was true that same year. Though the Duggar family patriarch reportedly said that he "disciplined" Josh afterward, he did not alert authorities. Jim Bob allegedly said there was "another incident" in 2003, but he reportedly waited until later in 2003 to take Josh to talk to Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens, a man that InTouch claims Jim Bob knew personally. Reportedly, Hutchens took no legal action against Josh, but instead gave him a "stern talk." InTouch also reports that Hutchens is now serving a 56-year prison sentence for child pornography.
If Harpo Studios did, in fact, forward this letter to the Department of Human Services hotline, InTouch claims this is the event set off the 2006 investigation that reportedly included interviewing Jim Bob and his wife Michelle Duggar, Josh, and several of the alleged victims. The publications reports that "police had to abandon pursuing charges because the [then] three-year statute of limitations had expired."
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.