By Andre Jones
The Duggar family first appeared in the public spotlight as a conservative Christian clan of ten boys and eleven girls, with husband and wife Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar at the helm. However, the family went from fame to infamy when it was discovered that the oldest of the Duggar sons, Josh, had molested five young girls – four of them his own sisters.
Though well known locally, the Duggars first captured the nation’s attention with their hit TLC network show 19 Kids and Counting. The reality themed program showcased the family’s fundamental and highly conservative Christian values such as pre-marital abstinence, traditional chaperoned courtship, and of course, active involvement in religious activities. However, this image was shattered when the Duggar parents confirmed publicly that their first-born son, 27-year-old Josh had, in fact, s*xually molested multiple young girls at least 12 years prior.
Though sealed police records could not be cited due to Josh’s age at the time of the occurrences, Jim Bob alluded that the nature of Josh’s sealed records dealt with the same subject matter. “He said he was just curious about girls and he had gone in and just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping; they didn’t even know he had done it,” Jim Bob told Kelly.
Of all the responses the Duggars offered during their interview, the most harshly criticized statement came from Jim Bob. As he spoke about turning to the church and friends for support, he casually admitted, “…as we talked to other parents and different ones since then, a lot of families have said that they have had similar things that happened in their families.”
John V. Caffaro, a professor at the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles and author of Sibling Abuse Trauma had this to say, “Sibling s*xual abuse is the most closely kept secret in the field of family violence. All children explore their bodies and may engage in visual or even manual exploration of a sibling at times. This is one way that children discover s*xual differences between boys’ and girls’ anatomies.”
Though that explains s*xual curiosity in younger children, it is worth noting that Josh Duggar was a teenager of 14 during the molestations, with one of the girls being 5 years old.
Josh, now nearly 30 years old, apologized for teenage “wrongdoing” after allegations of molestation became public.