Reality television personalities Josh Duggar and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statements to People, clearing the air following reports that Josh, one of the Duggars’ 19 children on the reality series 19 Kids and Counting, had previously been accused of molesting five underage girls as a teen.
“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,” read the statement prepared by 27-year-old Josh, who resigned from the Family Research Council following the reports. “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.”
In a statement, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar defended their eldest son, saying that Josh “made some very bad mistakes” as a young teen, and that the incidents “caused us to seek God like never before.”
“Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God,” the statement continued. “We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.”
Josh’s wife Anna also released a statement to People, saying that she has always supported her husband, and that Josh had admitted his “past teenage mistakes” two years prior to proposing marriage. “I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it,” she said. “For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even every difficult past mistakes.”
Meanwhile, a report from TMZ claims that police are preparing to destroy all details, including the names of Josh Duggar’s supposed victims, surrounding the molestation case. This came after one of the five “Jane Does” asked a judge that her identity be kept confidential. She expressed concern that an un-redacted copy of the official police report may get leaked out, and stressed that the court is obligated to destroy the report. TMZ also notes that a judge had signed the order earlier this afternoon.
At the time of the original investigation, Josh Duggar was only 17 years old, and was accused of sexual assault in the fourth degree. However, the charges were eventually dropped as Jim Hutchens, the Arkansas state trooper who took the report, was convicted of child pornography. The case eventually went cold as the statute of limitations had already passed at the time the case was to be reopened.