Josh Duggar of the hit TV show, 19 Kids and Counting, has been accused of molesting young girls in 2002 and 2003. He is the oldest son on the TLC channel’s top show, and has issued a public apology saying he was very young and irresponsible and his actions were unforgivable. Duggar posted on Facebook that he was very young and reckless twelve years ago. He said that his actions were unjustifiable, he caused pain to his family and to others, and he was so very sorry.
Parents Jim Bob and Michele Duggar are reputable and devoted Christian evangelists who believe that God would not approve of birth control, and make their children follow a firm dating protocol. Shannon Lianes, a representative of the network, told CNN that the TLC network has stopped production of the show, and is not allowing any previously-taped episodes to be shown.
He told his parents what he had done and that he regretted it happened, and they arranged for him and his victims to get counseling . He also put in his resignation at the family business, which is a non-governmental organization with an ongoing mission to improve faith and family from a Christian viewpoint. The group issued a statement saying he resigned because of the prior unknown information concerning his actions as a teenager.
His public statement and apology match up to a 2006 police report acquired by In Touch magazine. The report appeared to be deeply revised and did not name the accused, but the dates all match up to Duggar’s statement. In the report, it says that a fax was sent from Harpo studios, which is owned by Oprah Winfrey, that expressed to the local authorities that a crime had possibly occurred. The studio had heard through an email that the oldest son of the Duggars had committed crimes against underage girls, and that the family was not what they seemed. The sender of the email expressed they did not want to see the show or Winfrey humiliated by them. All names were blocked out of the report. The Oprah Winfrey Show was in the planning stages of the interview process with the Duggar family, and that interview never happened. A police lieutenant in Springdale said on Thursday that a judge ordered the report removed from public record, because the names of the underaged victims could possibly be identified.
His parents also posted on Facebook that at the time of the incident, their son confessed to them, it was a very hard time for the whole family, and they were deeply shocked. They said that they have tried so hard to instill good moral values in all their children.
Duggar, now 27, issued an apologetic statement to People magazine, saying that as a young teenager he did commit sexual abuse against several underage girls, including some of his own sisters. He said how young and stupid he was, and how sorry he still is today.
It is unclear of the future of the show 19 Kids and Counting, and if any of the episodes that were set to air for the start of the new season will be shown after the allegations of child molestation by Duggar was made public. Plenty of church members, and family friends knew of how he abused the victims, but the there is a question to when the TLC network found out. The Duggars started filming with the network just two years after he molested his sisters.
CNN.com: Josh Duggar on child abuse molestation report: ‘I acted inexcusably’
eonline.com: Josh Duggar’s police report: Oprah Winfrey Harpo studios was tipped off about family molestation accusations, family interview never happened.
Defamer: The web has known about Josh Duggar for years. When did TLC find out?
Photo courtesy of Tengrain’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License