By Maya Rhodan
May 21, 2015

Josh Duggar, the eldest son in the family chronicled in TLC’s series 19 Kids and Counting, has spoken out after it emerged he had been accused of child molestation in the past.

“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,” Duggar, who was accused as a teenager of molesting five underage girls, told PEOPLE in a statement. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation.”

Duggar, 27, who has since resigned from his role at the Family Research Council, said his parents took him to the authorities and later arranged for him and his victims to receive counseling. In a statement to PEOPLE, his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, reaffirmed their support for their son and called the events “one of the most difficult times of our lives.”

“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” Duggar added. “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.”

Read more at PEOPLE

Write to Maya Rhodan at maya.rhodan@time.com.

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