Jim Bob, Michelle Duggar open up about Josh Duggar molestation scandal
ABOVE: The Duggars broke their silence Wednesday night, but as Mike Drolet reports, their reputation and their multi-million dollar empire is on the line.
TORONTO — In an interview that aired Wednesday on Fox News, 19 Kids and Counting stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar opened up about revelations last month that their son Josh molested four of his sisters and a family babysitter when he was a teenager.
Jim Bob and Michelle admitted it wasn’t until there were two more incidents that they “felt we had to get help.”
Here’s a look at some of the highlights (or lowlights) from the Duggars’ conversation with Megyn Kelly:
They appeared to minimize what Josh did
“This was not rape or anything like that,” said Jim Bob. “This was like touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple of incidents where he touched them under their clothes but it was like a few seconds.”
Jim Bob added that his son 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’d done it.”
Michelle seemed to credit Josh with admitting to something only he knew.
“Josh had a tender conscience and he was the one that came and shared on his own even though the others really didn’t know anything of his wrongdoing.”
They justified why they didn’t immediately go to authorities
Asked why it took so long to go to police, Jim Bob explained: “We felt like going from a perspective of really reaching his heart first would be important. As parents you’re not mandatory reporters. The law allows for parents to do what they think is best for their child.
“He went and asked God to forgive him. He went back and asked those that he had offended to forgive him. But we felt like the last jurisdiction of who he needed to make things right with was the law.”
Jim Bob said he didn’t feel there was any need to let more people know about what happened. “At that point nobody knew about it besides Michelle, myself and Josh,” he said, “and so we thought what do we do with this information? The girls didn’t know anything happened because they were asleep.”
It’s not like they didn’t do anything
“First, we tried to deal with this in-house as parents. We were in shock and trying to figure out what was the next step,” said Jim Bob. “Looking back, we did the best we could under the circumstances.”
The Duggars said they punished their son and “watched him all the time.”
“We definitely put safeguards in our home,” Michelle said.
“Nothing ever happened like that again in the girls’ bedrooms after that,” Jim Bob recalled. “We had safeguards that protected them from that.”
Those measures were not enough, evidently.
“There were two other incidents where girls were laying on the couch and he had touched over the couch and actually touched their breasts while they were asleep, over their clothes,” said Jim Bob.
They insisted the girls didn’t know they were victimized
“One by one as we talked to them [and] none of them were aware of Josh’s wrongdoings,” Michelle recalled.
Jim Bob said it was he and his wife who told the girls what happened to them. “They really didn’t know. It was after some other things happened that we actually shared with them. They didn’t really understand.”
Added Michelle: “They weren’t even aware. They probably didn’t even understand that it was improper touch.”
BELOW: Jessa and Jill Duggar talk about their experience going public.
They said Josh isn’t a pedophile
Asked if they believe their son is a pedophile, Jim Bob was firm. “No,” he replied.
“Actually, a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Joshua was 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did. I think the legal definition is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child so he was a child preying on a child.”
They blame police for the details getting out
“We figured there must be an kind of agenda or some kind of profit,” Michelle alleged. “It definitely wasn’t to be caring about the victims.”
Jim Bob said they are talking to lawyers about possible legal action against the police department that released the investigation report to In Touch.
“We want to be an advocate for protecting juvenile records,” he said. “Every victim should have the right to tell their own story, not a tabloid.”
They blame the media
“I feel like this is more about… there’s an agenda and there’s people that are purposing to try to bring things out and twisting them to hurt and slander,” Michelle said.
Jim Bob added that the family is “trying to regroup from these attacks.”
He complained: “It’s been an unprecedented attack on our family. This information was released illegally. I wonder why all this press is not going after the system for releasing these juvenile records. That’s a huge story.”
They feel media attention is worse than molestation
Michelle said her daughters have been “victimized more by what happened in these last couple weeks than they were 12 years ago because, honestly, they didn’t even understand and know that anything had happened until after the fact when they were told about it.”
They agreed to be on a TV show because they thought their secret was safe
“We had nothing to hide,” Jim Bob said, when asked why they signed on for 19 Kids and Counting. “We had taken care of all of that years before. When they asked us to do the reality TV show all of this had been taken care of five years before.
“That was a sealed juvenile record. They had told us this was all stuff that was sealed and under law there’s no way that this could ever be brought out.”
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