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Josh Duggar admits to molesting 5 underage girls, resigns from the Family Research Council

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, Josh Duggar and his family are speaking out on the allegations that he molested five underage girls when he was a teenager.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, Josh Duggar and his family are speaking out on the allegations that he molested five underage girls when he was a teenager.

“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, who is 27, said in a 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.

Josh has also resigned from his position as Executive Director of the Family Research Council, a well-known anti-gay, evangelical Christian organization that has been labeled as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The molestations occurred between 2002 and 2003 when Duggar was 14, and he was alleged to have fondled the breasts and genitalia of the girls, with some of the incidents taking place as the girls slept.

Josh’s wife Anna claims he confessed his “past teenage mistakes” privately to her before they were married.

The Duggar Family

The Duggar Family

Police were not notified of the incidents until 2006, which allegedly included some of his own sisters, when someone anonymously wrote a letter to the Oprah Winfrey Show just before the Duggar family was scheduled to make an appearance. By then, the statute of limitations had passed.

In a joint statement, Josh’s parents, Jim Bob, 49 and Michelle, 48, affirm that they are standing by their son:

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.

There are already calls for TLC to cancel the reality show starring Josh and his family, 19 Kids and Counting.

This post has been updated

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Stuart McDonald

    May 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    This is ridiculous because sexually molesting children and then being a judgmental lying hypocrite against others is a job requirement for being in the Family Research Council (FRC).

  2. Betty

    May 21, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Not surprising. Molesting little girls is a way of life with a lot of Mormons.

  3. Cindy

    May 22, 2015 at 12:05 am

    They aren’t Mormons

  4. Linda

    May 22, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Please don’t relate this freak show family and Mormons. They aren’t mormon

  5. steve

    May 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

    While I despise these people, they aren’t Mormon. They are evangelical Christians, part of the Quiverfull movement. Equally misguided, but quite different.

  6. BlackSharpiePen

    May 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Sick family, sick, sick, sick. They’re all poorly educated, the girls are raised to be baby machines, and the boys are CREEPS like their father.

  7. Phil

    May 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

    This happened when he was 14. What were the ages of the “girls” in question when this happened?

  8. Lori Corsello

    May 22, 2015 at 12:39 am

    There are so many reasons to cancel that awful show, this us just the latest one.
    How ironic is it that the head of the “Family Research Council”, which is forever warning us about “the gays” who are all supposedly child molesters, is in fact a child molester himself?

  9. Aubrina

    May 22, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Wow Betty…you are so ignorant. They are not Mormon. And who knows what really happened. The media has a way of twisting things. Check your facts before you make statements.

  10. Trivia

    May 22, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Molesting kids is sick, but this guy did not do this recently. He did this at a young and immature age and is not the same person now. As much as I loathe all homophobic groups, someone getting in trouble for something they did ages ago when they were a different person is always wrong.

  11. Kate Karwowski

    May 22, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Whoopsie…

  12. V. Atkins

    May 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

    The Duggars are not Mormons.

  13. Bernie

    May 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

    He was 14, he was curious yeah the fact some of his sister’s had to be involved but him and his parents did the right thing give them a break we all have family secrets we all have done things that we regret and they did everything right

  14. ToonForever

    May 22, 2015 at 12:59 am

    And I could have sworn these bigots claimed that it was homosexuality was the slippery slope to child molestation.

    So much for that BS…

  15. Dena Leichnitz

    May 22, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Betty, you need to keep your vile opinion to yourself. You know nothing about Mormons or who we are! Hate monger!

  16. ToonForever

    May 22, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Oh, yeah, and Duggars? Nobody cares what you’re going through. We only care about Josh’s victims.

  17. sam

    May 22, 2015 at 1:15 am

    A way of life for mormons to molest chidren?!! Hardly!!! Don’t accuse others of molesting their children, Betty! I am a mormon and find your comment offensive!

  18. jaja

    May 22, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Betty. They arent mormon.

  19. Charley

    May 22, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Just goes to show you even the holier than thou holy rollers have skeletons in their closet. How can a man preach hate against another when he himself is the immoral one? Can we say hypocrite?

  20. Woopsie

    May 22, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.

  21. gayle

    May 22, 2015 at 2:12 am

    they are not Mormons. And no it is not the “way of life” for Mormons or any other Christian religion or decent human

  22. Spangler Mk

    May 22, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Mormons? These people may be deluded troglodytes but they are not mormon. They are independent baptists. Granted that’s just as cultish and skezy but let’s be accurate.

  23. Spangler Mk

    May 22, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Mormons? These people may be deluded troglodytes but they are not mormon. They are independent baptists. Granted that’s still cultish and skeezy but we should be accurate.

  24. Kelsey

    May 22, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Betty, are you joking or just ignorant? Firstly, Mormons and Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints aren’t the same thing. Secondly, the Duggers aren’t Mormon.

  25. manycatsonekid

    May 22, 2015 at 3:02 am

    They’re not Mormons.

  26. Ginger

    May 22, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Amen. Do not pray the gay away or pray the molester away. Cosby show was taken off the air with just allegations. why should they bank 50,000 an episode for complete bullshit. This is not the Christian way and in my book, god does not approve of porn or pedophelia

  27. catbyte

    May 22, 2015 at 4:08 am

    They’re not Mormons. They’re just your run-of-the-mill evangelical Christian “Quiverfull” nut jobs. It really sent a message to the girls, too. The men folk are to be protected. The girls, not so much.

  28. Kathy Casteel

    May 22, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Yet you have the nerve to have children…I pray you have never molested your children. Do you think that you will be granted forgiveness just because you ask God to forgive your sins and you pay for your victim’s psychiatrist visits?
    You underestimate the damage you have done …..and yet you have the nerve to lead a hate group against GAYS? YOUR KIND IS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT VICTIMS DOUBT THEIR PLACE IN THE WILD AND THEIR SELF WORTH!
    AND you use region as a tool to demean and humiliate good human beings….instead of using religion as a tool to unite us in humanity!

  29. Donna Marsh

    May 22, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I have enjoyed this show for so long. I do not think it is giving the wrong message. The girls are being protected and Josh was made to own up to his wrong doing. It is unfortunate that it got lost in the shuffle but I believe he got the message and changed his behavior. It must have been so de vesta ting to be found out and taken to task by his own father. Definately not protecting his son. At least, it was not hidden away like a dirty little secret.

  30. Tom Robbins

    May 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

    In fairness to Duggar, at least 20% of my rage comes from the fact that you have a statute of limitations for child sex abuse and a further 30% for it being a measly 3 years.

  31. Liz Knutson

    May 22, 2015 at 11:21 am

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks!

  32. Tina

    May 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I hope his wife packs up the kids and gives back to her parents. You don’t just change abusive behavior because you age into adulthood.

  33. DebraJ

    May 22, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    They’re not Mormons you moron! Where on earth do you get “it’s a way of life with a lot of Mormons” – Do you have IGNORANT tattooed across your forehead?

  34. w reid

    May 22, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Doesn’t make it right but this happens in a lot of families believe it or not. He was 14-17. How many boys haven’t done this and girls haven’t allowed it. I have never heard the family make mention of being perfect, they profess there beliefs for themselves which doesn’t mean that as the scripture states we will not fall short of the glory of God from time to time. It’s when there is a continuation of the same wrong doing that I have a problem with.

  35. Helen Marcus

    May 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Jim Bob is not stupid, although he reported it to the police, he waited until he knew that his son would not be prosecuted. Why bother at that point? And what about protecting his daughters? Was he waiting to see if this was “just a phase” or”boys will be boys” or if he was going to go on and become an even more vile pedophile? And what is wrong with Anna? Marrying a man who professes to molesting his sisters and other girls. I cant wait to hear the program about this one.

  36. Lisa L. Gove

    May 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    well look at that.. America’s “PERFECT” christian nut-jobs aren’t perfect after all.

  37. Lisa L. Gove

    May 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Move back to Arkansas, where you belong!

  38. Shane

    May 22, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Riiight, because molesting people is merely a “challenge” and a “struggle” to get through. Pretentious assholes.

  39. Jackie Treehorn

    May 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I think JT Eberhard says it pretty well: “god isn’t worth much for protecting the innocent at the time. If you or I were there, we would’ve stopped Josh Duggar, but not god. Protecting the guilty afterward though? He’s great for that.”

  40. Jackie Treehorn

    May 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I think JT Eberhard said it well here: “god isn’t worth much for protecting the innocent at the time. If you or I were there, we would’ve stopped Josh Duggar, but not god. Protecting the guilty afterward though? He’s great for that.”

  41. Anita

    May 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I think this show should be discontinued. They have lied to us all and pretended to be people they aren’t. Josh also owes 15,000.00 in back taxes too. All this family can think of is having babies ! Now we see why ! All about sex with this family. Josh saved his first kiss until marriage my hind end. Liars !

  42. Jen

    May 22, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    So sad and disappointing. That’s not a “teenage mistake” as his wife is claiming. That is a sickness in his mind. She should watch him closely with their children.

  43. Sarah

    May 23, 2015 at 1:39 am

    That statement is ignorant of itself since they are not Mormons and since you have no factual proof to back it up. Before you choose to downgrade an entire religious faith do some research.

  44. Marina Sali

    May 23, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Lmao ..are you serious this is ridiculous. That’s what young teenagers boys and girls do. They are interested.. it’s called growing and experimenting ..I don’t see anything wrong. He was 14 and girls where… around that age. And they touched each other.. Wouaou! Ok I see it normal..that’s what young people do. If he forced them then that’s wrong but other than that . It’s cool 🙂

  45. Melanie laubaugh

    May 23, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Oh, because it doesn’t happen in the Catholic Church? They aren’t even Mormons. You’re an diot and That’s the stupidest comment I’ve ever heard.

  46. carla

    May 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I think it’d importsnt to remember that most kids (cuz he was 14 …so a kid) wouldn’t do something like that unless something not good was happening to him, either mentally or physically. It’s sad because isn’t that life.. monkey see monkey do. I do give the family credit for not hiding or excusing. Hopeful they can all be healed from it. And tgat he doesn’t still struggle.

  47. MO

    May 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    So they are antigay, but the support a child molesting pedophile who even molested his own sisters! Then they have the nerve to hide behind god and religion! They are not stupid they report it now because they know that the statute of limitations has expired! He will do it again! He might not pay for his crime now but he will pay in hell!

  48. Pingback: 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was named in an underage sexual abuse probe - Page 12

  49. Shona Erwin

    May 24, 2015 at 3:20 am

    What Josh Duggar did was absolutely wrong, however if the victims in this situation feel that things were fairly handled then who r we to judge. I do believe that people can change. I was raised to know that with God ALL things are possible. God sent his precious son Jesus to die in the cross for our sins because he loved us that much. We have no right to take one of God’s children and continue to punish him over and over and over again. Judge not lest ye be judged. I praise Hod in good times and bad and I am a HUGE fan of the show 19 Kids and Counting, for many reasons. They have incredible values, parenting skills, amazing hearts and most importantly they are a Christian family and I think that it would be a tragedy to remove a show like that and continue to show Botched and other racy shows. I am a mother of 5 and right or wrong I would love my boys no matter what! Whether I approve what they do doesn’t matter. God gave me this amazing children to love and to raise and I intend to make him glad he did! Please don’t be nasty to Josh and especially his family. He may be guilty of having a stupid moment as a child but that is in the past and this is now! Idc what anyone thinks or says I will always watch their shows and enjoy the family!!!! Please don’t remove the show!!!!

  50. Carlee Peters (@carlee_peters)

    May 24, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Sexually assaulting FIVE little girls, over a 3-4 year period, 4 of whom were your sisters and were sleeping at the time? Makes you a pedophile and a predator.

    This wasn’t “consensual”. This wasn’t “age-appropriate playing doctor”. He’s a sexual predator enabled by his parents who didn’t bother to protect their other kiddo!

    (Seriously! After they caught Josh abusing the THIRD sister, Michelle and Jim Bob couldn’t be bothered to protect the FOURTH???).

    If CNN’s timeline is correct, Josh “stopped” abusing his sisters when he got married and moved out… because he got married.

    Anna is a woman raised in a Quiverfull-men-are-superior-and-women-must-always-submit-style Christian home, she and her parents knew Josh had sexually assaulted 5 girls BEFORE she married him and her marriage to Josh was arranged by her parents (ie saying no wasn’t an option).

    I seriously, seriously fear for their kids… whom Josh may already have abused!!

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