Reality TV show star Josh Duggar apologized Thursday for molesting multiple underage girls more than a decade ago. Duggar, now 27 years old, is the oldest son on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting reality show, which began its 10th season in February chronicling the lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their offspring in Arkansas. According to TMZ, some of the girls Josh Duggar molested were his sisters.
A tabloid story in inTouch Weekly on Thursday published a 2006 Arkansas police report with names redacted where Duggar confessed to molesting at least five underage girls that the Duggar family was aware of dating back to 2002, when a 14-year-old girl told Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar their son had fondled her in her sleep. More accusations arose nearly a year later; the Duggars, however, only sent their eldest son away for the summer, and, Gawker notes, “a formal investigation into the allegations was not launched until 2006, when an anonymous source leaked information about the sexual abuse to producers on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show.” (Gawker has pieced together a helpful approximate timeline.)
Josh Duggar is now married with three children and had been working in Washington, D.C. for the conservative Christian Family Research Council as the executive director of its nonprofit lobbying group. Duggar resigned his post on Thursday and made this statement in a Facebook post:
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. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.
Josh Duggar never faced any charges for the his alleged crimes because the statute of limitations had expired.