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TLC cancels ‘19 Kids and Counting’ in wake of molestation scandal

Josh Duggar, middle in back, pictured with his parents and siblings.
Josh Duggar, middle in back, pictured with his parents and siblings. Handout

TORONTO — U.S. network TLC announced Thursday it is pulling the plug on reality series 19 Kids and Counting.

The announcement comes after TLC temporarily stopped airing the show after it was revealed that one of its stars, Josh Duggar, admitted to molesting underage girls — including some of his sisters — when he was a teenager.

“After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided not to move forward with 19 Kids and Counting,” read a statement.

“The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.”

The network said it has consulted with victims’ rights and advocacy organizations “to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact.”

READ MORE: Jim Bob, Michelle Duggar open up about revelations

TLC said it is working with the Duggar family to produce a one-hour documentary about families affected by sexual abuse. The commercial-free special will air later this summer.

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“TLC has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help,” read the statement.

In a separate statement released by the Duggar family, Jim Bob and Michelle said: “With God’s grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become.

“It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.”

In May, Josh Duggar resigned from the conservative Family Research Council after an InTouch report revealed he was investigated by police in Arkansas in 2006 for multiple incidents of “forcible fondling” of minors.

The 27-year-old married father of three (with a fourth due this month), was executive director of the Christian lobbying organization.

In a message posted on Facebook, Duggar wrote: “I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”

19 Kids and Counting, which debuted in 2008, was TLC’s top-rated series.

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