A major skeleton has been discovered in the closet of the Duggar family of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. In Touch Weekly and TMZ broke the news on Thursday (May 21st) that 27-year-old Josh Duggar was investigated for sexually molesting five girls starting back in 2002 -- including a few of his own sisters.
TMZ has confirmed the story with law enforcement that Josh was 14 when he was accused of fondling the genitals and breasts of the girls. Some of them were supposedly sleeping when the incidents occurred. According to a police report, it happened again nine months after the original claims which prompted patriarch Jim Bob and church elders decided to send him away to a treatment program. Michelle Duggar revealed that no actual treatment was given and that her son just worked with a guy remodeling homes.
- Josh responded to the news in a statement which read, "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. 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."
- He has also resigned from his position at the Family Research Council.
- Jim Bob and Michelle also responded to the story saying, "Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time 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. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. 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 shared her own statement which read, "I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock. When my family and I first visited the Duggar home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was -- even very difficult past mistakes. He continued to do what he was taught. I know who Josh really is -- someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right."
- The investigation reportedly kept the family from appearing on an episode of Oprah back in 2006 after someone sent an email to the show to warn them about the allegations.