This was the image put forth by Jim Bob Duggar and TV producers in the marketing of his family soon after his son, Josh, repeatedly confessed to molesting four of his sisters and a babysitter. Tragically, it was far from true.
The Police Investigation & Report
On December 7, 2006, Detectives Darrell Hignite and Barbra Denney of the Springdale Police Department in Arkansas filed an Offense Report that cited Josh’s alleged crimes as “Sex Offense – Forcible Fondling,” which they classified as “Sexual Assault 2nd” degree. These were not mistakes or youthful indiscretions. Josh was accused of serious crimes but the case was closed because the 3 year statute of limitations had expired. He was not prosecuted.
In Touch Magazine, who broke the story, reported, “Other bombshells in the police report are: Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses – including forcible fondling – against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies.”
Read the following articles for more details.
The Duggar’s Extraordinary Response to God
After this came to light, Jim Bob and his wife, Michelle, put out the following message on their Facebook page.
Duggar Family Official
May 21 at 6:41pm
Please read the following messages:
From Jim Bob and Michelle:
Back 12 years ago  our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager [age 14 & 15], he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. 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.
In this statement, they admit to no deficiencies in their “right from wrong” parenting. Given their teaching, they were “shocked” by Josh’s “very bad mistakes.” That is revealing. Most parents would question their approach and accept some responsibility if their oldest child and first born son fondled multiple family members.
They also commend themselves and all 14 children for seeking “God like never before” during “that dark and difficult time.” Jim Bob and Michelle don’t realize it, but they are putting themselves forward as “a perfect family.” No one fell short in their response to God. Everyone responded flawlessly. If anyone sinned during that time, you would never know it.
To “watch our lives” as presented in this statement reveals one thing. The entire family is an extraordinary example of godliness according to the parents. Yes, they have “challenges and struggles everyday” but these are met with perfect obedience or so it appears. That is the message that comes through this statement. Except for Josh, I fail to see how anyone in the family needed God’s undeserved kindness, goodness and forgiveness according to the parents. Only sinners need such and that is completely missing from the picture they paint.
So Many Disturbing Elements to the Story
There are many disturbing aspects to this story of sexual abuse. For example, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on May 23.
“A Washington County Juvenile Court judge ordered the [police] report destroyed on Thursday, saying one of the victims is still a minor and that the child’s identity might be revealed. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette obtained the report before it was ordered destroyed.”
The female victim is still a minor. That means she is not yet 18 years of age. The fondling occurred in 2002 or 2003. Therefore, the little girl was under the age of 6.
There are also so many other serious issues related to how the situation was handled. For example, “Jim Bob also refused to allow the police to interview Josh when they opened a felony investigation in 2006.”
I’d recommend the following articles for a much fuller understanding of the facts and issues at hand.
Silence led to no case for Duggar
May 23, 2015
A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar
May 23, 2015
Duggar Molestation Case—Another Bombshell Revealed: Josh Sued the Arkansas Department of Social Service
May 27, 2015
Duggar Breaking News: Disgraced Cop Who Didn’t Report Molestation Shoots Down Jim Bob’s Story
May 27, 2015
The TV Special, “14 Children & Pregnant Again” – September 6, 2004
Josh Duggar "confessed" in March 2002, July 2002, and March 2003. The incidents were not investigated until December 2006 but by then it was too late. The statute of limitations had expired.
In September 2004, the Duggar’s starred in their first TV special. That was 18 months after the last known molestation. I wrote the following on my Facebook page.
“One of the reasons, I posted this article [“A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar” by the Washington Post] was to show how soon after the alleged molestation of five girls including four sisters, the father, Jim Bob, started promoting his family on TV specials as a model of virtue attributable to their parenting practices. That lacked a tremendous degree of humility and integrity.
“At that point, the elders in Jim Bob’s church should have stopped him and redirected his attention to the care and protection of his family – not its promotion. There were 14 children then, there are 19 children now. Having more children was a major part of Duggar’s marketing success. Stop having kids and the audience loses interest. That’s why the shows were always called the latest number of children “and pregnant” or the latest number of children “and counting.” If they stopped having children, their celebrity ended. So did their show unless rebranded under another name.
“Jim Bob and Michelle should have seriously considered having no more children when they learned their oldest child and first born son, Josh, was a sexual predator according to reports. Not as a punishment, but as a matter of priority and wisdom. The family was in deep trouble and their parenting had not produced as advertised. These were not ordinary family problems. Things were seriously wrong. It was time to refocus and reevaluate, not build a family empire.”
The TV special was called “14 Children & Pregnant Again.” It aired on September 6, 2004 and was produced by Advanced Medical Productions (a.k.a. Figure 8 Films).
Figure 8 Films says this about themselves.
“We are storytellers. Accuracy is very important, as is sensitivity and respect for our subjects and our audience. Primarily, we tell stories about incredible people and challenging situations.”
I have no reason to doubt “accuracy is very important” to this film company. I assume they had no idea what was really going on in the Duggar household.
They said the following in their advertisement for the TV special.
“Advanced Medical Productions has been invited to the Duggar household in Springdale, Arkansas to get an unprecedented look at how this incredible family works as a team to insure a happy, healthy and balanced life for each member. We’ll settle in for several, busy days with the Duggars and “walk in the sixteen sets of individual shoes” as they go about their daily tasks. We’ll take a trip to the grocery store with Michelle, ride in the family “bus” to church and watch Jim Bob and the boys work on the new house they’re building for their growing family.”
This film company that valued "accuracy" should have been told the truth by Jim Bob Duggar before he “invited [them] to the Duggar household in Springdale, Arkansas.” Of course, they would never have come to produce the TV special if he had been honest with them.
Instead, Jim Bob created a brand in conjunction with the company that did not correlate with reality. It was encapsulated in the sentence, “Get an unprecedented look at how this incredible family works as a team to insure a happy, healthy and balanced life for each member.”
I wrote on Facebook this week.
“The Duggar’s are a family franchise. There is tremendous pressure to put forward a superior “family life” product. It is the key to their fame, and honestly, their fortune. With the marketing of that product comes tremendous temptation to pretend righteousness and cover up unrighteousness. You can’t do a reality TV show as a Christian unless you are going to be real. And furthermore, what parents would do a TV series about their family knowing their oldest son recently abused four of his sisters? The Duggar’s have not been real.
Josh Duggar’s “First Kiss” on His Wedding Day
Josh Duggar married Anna Keller on September 26, 2008. Much was made of their first kiss. Watch Josh & Anna Duggar’s First Kiss – YouTube. I wrote the following.
“I don’t follow the Duggar’s but I see they put Josh forward as an example of purity for first kissing his wife, Anna, on the day of their wedding. This gave the false impression that Josh had a history of purity, when he had a history of sexual predation that was covered up. Millions of people were led to believe a lie. Josh also put himself forth as an example. He told a national audience, “Not only to us but to all the other young people in the room it was quite a testimony to say, ‘They waited.’”
“If they waited, that’s good. Here’s what’s not good. Putting yourself forward as a model of virtue and allowing people to believe you don’t have a history of sexual sin (let alone sex crimes) when in fact you do. If Josh said anything about himself, it should have been something like this. “A few years ago I was involved in sexual sin of a serious nature. I broke the law. I turned myself into police. I repented and confessed to my church. I got accountability and I have been honest with everyone around me. By God’s grace, I changed. As a result, Anna and I were able to save our first kiss for our wedding day. I am not an example of purity but I am ‘quite a testimony’ of God’s extraordinary mercy.
“Josh and his parents led people to believe Josh had no previous history of sexual sin when they promoted the “first kiss.” That’s called false advertising in the world of marketing. It’s called deceit and hypocrisy in the Bible. I hope the Duggar’s come to realize this so they can clearly acknowledge it. They have brought reproach to the cause of Christ. I hope they will make repairs.”
Josh Duggar - Executive Director for the Family Research Council Action
In June 2013, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC) and Family Research Council Action (FRC Action) hired Josh Duggar to be the Executive Director of FRC Action, the legislative action arm of the FRC. Josh never told Perkins about his past. Nor did his father. That was a terrible disservice to Perkins, FRC, FRC Action and millions of supporters throughout the nation.
In his position, Josh Duggar fought against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender agenda in Washington D.C. That is good work but not work he was qualified to do given his history of molestation and attempts to cover it up. He and his father kept this information from Perkins during the hiring process even though it was known in other circles. They were willing to put FRC and FRC Action at risk for the sake of landing a powerful and prestigious job. Like everything else, they publicized the accomplishment and the move to D.C. on their TV series and in the press. See for example.
This week I wrote.
“And as I’ve said before, no one starts a TV program to put forth your family as a model when “Exhibit A,” your firstborn son and oldest child, recently abused his younger sisters and at least one other girl. Nor does a father support his son as a lobbyist for “family values” knowing his son’s past and the fact his past was undisclosed to his employer. Jim Bob Duggar should have revealed this information to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council if Josh was unwilling to be honest during the interview process.
“If anything, Josh should be helping families by honestly telling his story so they can learn how to protect against child abuse by family members and others. He could also lobby for legislation designed to overturn the statute of limitation for pedophilia – that is, after he fully discloses his past to law enforcement and clearly acknowledges his hypocrisy to the general public.”
I’ve only commented on four issues. The extraordinary response, the first TV special, the first kiss and the job as executive director. There are other issues that deserve treatment but I must leave that to others.
Here is the 33 page police report. The narration begins on page 11.