The Duggar Interview: ’19 Kids & Counting’ Family Addresses John Duggar Molestation Scandal
19 Kids & Counting‘s Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sat down with Fox News host Megyn Kelly for their first interview after the story broke about their eldest son Josh Duggar‘s history of molestation.
Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Interview
Jim Bob and Michelle, parents to 19 children, have recently had to answer for the past crimes of their 27-year-old son. After reports were first published suggesting that Josh had molested young girls in his teenage years, the Duggar parents released a brief statement, acknowledging the veracity of the reports, while also claiming that the issues were in the past, as Josh had returned to God.
During Monday night’s interview with Kelly, Jim Bob and Michelle admitted that what Josh had done to four of their daughters and a babysitter was something that made them question their skills as parents.
“There was so much grief in our hearts. I think as parents we felt, we’re failures,” Michelle told Kelly. “You know, here we tried to raise our kids to do what’s right, to know what’s right. And yet one of our children made some really bad choices, and I think as a parent, we were just — we were devastated.”
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Jim Bob, however, claimed that the victims didn’t necessarily know the bad things that Josh had done, which, in his mind, somewhat lessened the crimes.
“He said he was just curious about girls, and he had gone in and just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping. They didn’t even know he had done it,” Jim Bob said at one point in the interview.
Michelle, agreeing with this train of thought, added later in the interview, “It was more [Josh’s] heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But [the victims] weren’t even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn’t – – to them they didn’t probably even understand that it was an improper touch.”
After Josh came to them the third time to confess his wrongdoings, the Duggars realized that their in-home discipline was not helping their son – or their young girls.
“It was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, ‘You know what? ‘We have done everything we can as parents to handle this in-house. We need to get help,'” Jim Bob said, explaining that they then sent him for Christian-based counseling. The parents also said that Josh and the other children received additional counseling from an “accredited professional counselor.”
Though Jim Bob and Michelle admitted that Josh’s actions were wrong, they do not think that he is a pedophile. Furthermore, Michelle finds the criticism of her robocalls – in which she suggested that allowing transgender women into women’s restrooms would put children at risk of molestation – unfounded and agenda-based.
As for the future of 19 Kids & Counting on TLC, Jim Bob says that the focus is on the family – but it’s also on seeing legal action taken against whomever allowed the juvenile records pertaining to their family to get released.
Jill Duggar, 25, and Jessa Duggar, 22, who’ve admitted to being two of Josh’s victims, also had an interview with Kelly, which will air Friday night.
“I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying,” Jessa said in a clip of the interview. “I’m like, ‘That is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”
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