Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke out about the scandal enveloping their family in an interview that aired Wednesday night, hours after it emerged that two of the girls whom their eldest son is alleged to have abused are their own daughters.
“I don’t think any parent is prepared for a trauma like that,” Michelle Duggar told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly.
The couple and their children, who starred in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, have been at the center of a scandal around alleged sexual abuse against minors committed by Joshua 12 years ago. The show, a consistent ratings performer, was put on hiatus after the Facebook page of Josh and his wife, Anna, shared a statement posted to the family’s official page last month that said he “acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry.” His father, Jim Bob, compared him to the biblical example of a shepherd caring for 100 sheep: “He took care of the 99 and he also took care of the one that went astray,” a nod to his first-born.
The pair alleged that Josh had inappropriately touched younger members of the Duggar family in his teenage years. “This was not rape or anything like that, this was touching somebody over their clothes,” Jim Bob said. They also claimed that they removed Josh from the home to work in what they called an alternative rehabilitation program. Speaking about juvenile treatments for sex offenders, the father said, “The success rate is not very good.”