Duggars Explain Son's Sins: 'As Christians, We Struggle Every Day'

CNSNews.com Staff | June 4, 2015 | 5:53am EDT
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FOX News Channel’s Megyn Kelly, from left, Jim Bob, and Michelle Duggar of the TLC program "19 Kids and Counting," during an interview for "The Kelly File" on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. The interview airs Wednesday during the FOX News Channel’s show at 9 p.m. ET. (FOX News via AP)

(CNSNews.com) - "I think people on the outside say Christians are supposed to live this perfect life. No. All of us as Christians, we struggle every day," Jim Bob Duggar told Fox News's Megyn Kelly on Wednesday.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, parents of the "19-Kids-and-Counting" Duggar brood featured in a TLC reality series, say that just as Jesus went after the one stray sheep, so they did all they could to rescue their eldest son who, beginning at age 14, inappropriately touched four of his own sisters, first as they slept in their beds; and later as some of them slept on couches, the Duggars say.  Later, he also groped a babysitter.

In the interview with Kelly Wednesday night, the Duggars detailed the problem they faced 12 years ago -- a son who three times came to them and confessed to molestation; what they did about it -- eventually sending him out of the home for Christian-based counseling and later to talk with a policeman; and what they now see as the bigger scandal -- the illegal May 21 release of their son's juvenile police record to a tabloid.

"When you're in every newspaper and everything throughout the world, it's been an unprecedented attack on our family," Jim Bob said. "And it was actually -- this information was released illegally, so I wonder why all this press isn't going after the system for releasing juvenile records. That is a huge story.

"Now, what our son did 12 years ago, I'm sure it's a major story to them too, but yet, hopefully justice will be served on the ones that released juvenile records to protect other juveniles' from their records from being released."

Jim Bob said the Duggars are "talking to some attorneys" about suing the police chief for the records leak.

"But I think the big picture is protecting juveniles' records. And I think that's something that we want to be an advocate for protecting juvenile records because the mistakes that juveniles make when they're young should be sealed."

Jim Bob said the release has victimized his daughters all over again:

"I think our daughters have -- you know, they were shocked to hear this. It's something that crushed them at first...No victim wants their minor story to be told. Every victim should have the right to tell their own story, not a tabloid."

Michelle Duggar said her family trusted the police department: "Our children poured out their hearts. They shared everything. And then to have their trust betrayed? And for all of their information and everything they share to be turned over to a tabloid, for those things to be twisted and shared in a slanderous way, story after story, tabloid after tabloid.

"That breaks my heart for my girls because I think this is such a horrible -- they've been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks than they were 12 years ago because they honestly -- they didn't even understand or know that anything had happened until after the fact when they were told about it.

"And so I think there's not -- in our hearts before God, we haven't been keeping secrets, we have been protecting those that, honestly, should be protected. And now what's happened is they've been victimized. But people with an agenda, and for whatever profit they think they're going to get? But in this, one thing I know is God is going to use all of this for good."

The Duggars explained the facts of the case, repeating several times that Josh came to them to confess multiple times what he'd done on multiple occasions; that the very young sisters were sleeping at the time and didn't know they'd been groped until they were questioned and eventually told by their parents; that as parents, feeling like failures, they tried to deal with the situation themselves, keeping Josh under constant watch until they finally sought outside help.

"This was not rape or anything like that, this was like touching somebody over their clothes," Jim Bob said. "There were a couple incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened, and it was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what? We have done everything we can as parents to handle this in-house. We need to get help."

The Duggars said they do not view Josh -- now married with three children -- as a pedophile. "He said he was just curious about girls," Jim Bob said.

Asked to respond to charges of hypocrisy -- that they preached moral values on their TV show while hiding their own sins -- Jim Bob said when the show began in 2008, "We had nothing to hide. We had taken care of all that years before. And when they asked us to do the reality TV show, all of this had been taken care of five years before (with counseling and a confession to a friend who was a police officer).

"We had no fear because everything was taken care of, and that was a -- that was actually a sealed juvenile record. And they had told us that all this stuff was done as a juvenile, this was all stuff that was sealed, and this is stuff that under law there is no way that this could ever be brought out."

The Duggars said they had "moved on with life."

And when the story broke in late May, Jim Bob reacted this way: "I said, God, I know that there are a lot of families out there that are hurting, and you know what? This isn't something we wanted to come out, but if people can see that Josh, who did these very bad things when he was a young person, that God could forgive him for these terrible things, then I hope other people realize that god can forgive them and also make them a new creature."

Everyone has done something wrong, Michelle told Kelly: "That's why Jesus came. I feel like this is more about -- there is an agenda and there are people that are purposing to try to bring things out and twisting them to hurt and slander."
"Our son violated God's principles from doing some improper touching. That was terrible," Jim Bob siad. "But yet I think it's been recently said that what Josh did was inexcusable but it was not unforgivable."

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