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Josh Duggar Admits To Molesting Five Girls As A Teen

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Josh Duggar, the oldest son of reality TV clan best known for its aversion to birth control, has come out and admitted to molesting five girls—including his own sisters—when he was a teenager.

Duggar's confession comes on the heels of In Touch publishing the details of a police report centering on the stars of the TLC show 19 Kids And Counting. The report says Duggar confessed to touching the breasts and genitals of underage women, sometimes when they were sleeping, sometimes not. TMZ says that some of the victims include his sisters. He was 14 at the time—the molestation happened in 2002 and 2003.

When Duggar's parents found out, they didn't report him to police right away. The first time they found out, they disciplined him but didn't go to police. Nine months later when the family found out the molesting hadn't stopped, the family's patriarch Jim Bob let church elders know what was going on. Again, they decided to discipline him again and not contact police right away. This time the punishment was to send him to a “Christian program" that consisted of hard physical work and counseling." But really, they just shipped him off to a friend who had a home remodeling business. There was no actual counseling to speak of.

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When he returned from his "program," his father took Josh to a family friend Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens—who gave Josh a stern talk and ended up not taking any sort of legal action. Hutchens was later convicted of child pornography and is currently serving 56 years.

The family's fame is what led to the dark secret being formally investigated. The Duggars were set to appear on Oprah when a 61-year-old woman faxed the producers a letter, letting them know about the case. Oprah forwarded the letter on to authorities. Ultimately, no charges were ever brought because the case was past the statute of limitations.

Josh, now 27, admitted to the molestations in People Magazine today. He writes, "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 says that he continues to live with regret, "I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."

Jim Bob and his wife Michelle released a joint statement: "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."

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Josh's wife Anna, 26, released a statement of support, too: "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."

As a result of these revelations, Josh has lost his job on the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. And we're guessing Rick Santorum might keep his distance from the Duggars now.

Defamer has a helpful timeline of events.

Update 5/22: TLC released a statement saying that they were pulling upcoming episodes of 19 Kids And Counting, though they didn't comment on their long-term plans for the show:

"Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air. We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.”
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Related:
Mike Huckabee Fully Supports The Duggars