Josh Duggar, the oldest son of reality TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting family, has resigned from his position as executive director of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council’s lobbying arm after apologizing for his “inexcusable” actions as a teen when he sexually abused five underage girls, including family members.
“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,” Josh told PEOPLE in his statement. “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.”
“When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar told PEOPLE. “We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.”
“Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.”
These were repeated sexual molestations, some forcible, and went unreported for months or a year, according to In Touch, which also states some were felonies, although Duggar was never prosecuted.
TMZ says they have learned some of the girls Josh allegedly molested were his sisters:
There was another reported incident 9 months later. According to the police report, the police were not immediately contacted. Instead, Jim Bob, the dad, met with church elders and agreed Josh should be put in a treatment program. The police report says Josh’s mom, Michelle, said it wasn’t really a treatment center … they simply sent Josh to a guy who was remodeling a building to do manual labor.