The 9 Most Shocking Revelations From the Duggar Interview
After news broke in mid-May that Joshua Duggar, the eldest sibling of the Duggar family (stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting), had confessed to molesting five underage girls as a teen (including his sisters), Josh, his wife Anna, and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle released statements to People expressing their regret over his “teenage mistakes.” But Jim Bob and Michelle sat down with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly last night to further address the incidents in their first full interview—here are some of the most alarming revelations from their sit-down.
Jim Bob insists that Josh’s actions were “not rape or anything like that.” “This was like touching somebody over their clothes,” Jim Bob said in describing the abuse. “There were a couple instances where he touched them under their clothes, but it was a few seconds, and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened.”
The first two daughters to fall victim to Josh’s “improper touching” didn’t know he had done it. “They didn’t know anything happened because they were asleep,” Jim Bob said. “None of them were aware of Josh’s wrongdoings,” Michelle added.
But it took two additional instances of fondling for the Duggars to take action outside of their home. “It was after that third time that he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what, we have done everything that we can as parents to handle this in house, we need to get help,” Jim Bob said. “At that point, we pulled Josh out of the home.”
Those subsequent incidents involved daughters that were awake, a babysitter, and a “very young daughter” whose age was in the single digits at the time. “That’s when we pulled him out of the house and we said, ‘He can’t be here,'” Jim Bob said. But Michelle added: “They [the girls] weren’t even aware, they probably didn’t even understand that it was improper touch…the little one was like, ‘What’s wrong? Why are Daddy and Josh leaving?'”
The Duggars claim they did not know the officer Joshua confessed to. “We went to the Arkansas State Police, walked in, this man was there, and we went in and talked to him,” Jim Bob said. “We had no idea what that officer was going through on his own.” [He is now serving a 56-year sentence for child pornography charges.] Jim Bob also added: “We took a witness with us and he [Josh] shared everything.”
They believe the Arkansas State Police chief had an ulterior motive in releasing Joshua’s records—and they’re considering legal action. “I don’t know if there was a bribe,” Jim Bob said. “She was getting ready to retire…and even a few weeks ago, she said, ‘You know, I’m getting ready to retire and there’s a few things I want to do before I retire.’ I think we were on the list.” He added that they are talking to attorneys about the situation and they “want to be an advocate for protecting juveniles’ records.” “This information was released illegally and I’m wondering why all of this press is not going after the system for releasing juvenile records,” Jim Bob said. “That is a huge story…hopefully justice will be served.”
The Duggars don’t consider Josh to be a pedophile. “A pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Joshua was actually 14, and just turned 15 when he did what he did,” Jim Bob said. “I think the legal definition is 16 and up for preying on a child. So Josh was a child preying on a child.”
__They don’t think TLC should pull their show, 19 Kids and Counting. __ “I don’t know if the rest of our family should be punished for the act of one of our children; that’s stuff that is happened 12 years ago,” Jim Bob said. “But, you know, we are fine whether they film us or not. We are going to go on and live life and make a difference in the world.” Michelle added: “Either way we are at peace.”
And they believe the media has done more damage to their children than Josh. “They’ve [their daughters] been victimized more in what’s happened in these last few weeks than what happened 12 years ago,” Michelle said. “They’ve been victimized by people with an agenda…but one thing I know is that God is going to use all of this for good.”
Part two of Megyn Kelly’s interview will air Friday at 9 P.M. on Fox News, with two of Joshua’s victims, sisters Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard.
Watch our series Tell Somebody: April Shares Her Relationship Abuse Story with Glamour