Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” spoke publicly for the first time on Wednesday about how their eldest son inappropriately touched four of his younger sisters and a family babysitter when he was a teen.
In an interview with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Michelle said she and her husband were devastated and felt like failures as parents when Josh came to them and told them what he’d done.
“Here we tried to raise our kids to — to do what’s right and know what’s right. And yet, one of our children made really bad choices and I think as a parent we were just — we were devastated,” said Michelle.
The Duggars are angry that what their son did has come to light and even suggested they are victims of a vendetta by a public official who illegally leaked his juvenile police records.
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Michelle said their daughters have been more victimized over the last few few weeks by the aftermath of the scandal than what happened to them 12 years ago.
Both parents were steadfast in their defense of their son. “He was still a kid,” Jim Bob said. “This was not rape or anything like that.”
Jim Bob said his daughters “didn’t know” that their brother had touched them improperly while they slept. “He said he was just curious about girls and he had gone in and just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping,” said Jim Bob.
He said his son was not a pedophile because he wasn’t an adult when he did what he did, referring to Josh as “a child preying on a child.”
Earlier on Wednesday In Touch Weekly published a police report that revealed the Duggars knew that Josh had repeatedly touched his 5-year-old sister but did not tell authorities for at least 16 months.
According to the report, Josh Duggar told his father on three separate occasions that he had inappropriately touched his sisters and a family friend. He was 15 and committed at least seven acts of sexual molestation, the report reveals.
In Touch used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the report from the Washington County (Arkansas) sheriff’s office.
According to the report, Jim Bob told police that Josh came to him “very upset and crying” in March of 2002, and told him that he had been sneaking into his sisters’ room at night and had been touching (redacted) on the breasts and vaginal areas while they were sleeping.”
The report says that Josh went from sister to sister as they slept in a common room and that he had done that four to five times.
In Touch has published the full report. Read it here.
Fox News identified Duggar daughters Jessa and Jill as two of their brother’s victims in a teaser to an interview the young women gave the network. That interview will air on Friday.
Response to the interview on social media was all over the place Wednesday night. Some people don’t like that Jill and Jessa have been named as their brother’s victims.