Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar say they believe they have been targeted because of their Christian beliefs after a police report recently came to light that their oldest son, Josh, inappropriately touched five young girls when he was 14.
The two, who along with their children star in the TLC reality series "19 Kids and Counting," talked to Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" to give their side of the story after weeks of being tabloid fodder.
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The couple said they believe what happened to their family will be used by God to help others who have suffered.
The Springdale, Arkansas, police chief and the city attorney approved the release of Josh's juvenile record as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, even though juvenile records are not subject to such release, Fox News reports.
The Duggars said they are considering a lawsuit against the city but their main concern is seeing that the juvenile records of others are protected.
"We trusted the police department," Michelle Duggar said. "Our children poured out their hearts. They shared everything. And then to have their trust betrayed?"
Four of their daughters and a babysitter were the victims and they have been victimized again by the release of the information, she said.
Michelle Duggar said she and her husband felt like failures when they learned in 2002 that their then-14-year-old son Josh had sexually abused the girls.
"It was so much grief in our hearts. I think as parents we felt that we were failures."
"Here we tried to raise our kids to do as right and know what's right, and yet one of our children made some really bad choices, and I think as a parent we were just devastated," she said.
Josh Duggar, now 27 and a husband and father of three, admitted in May he "acted inexcusably" when he was "a young teenager."
Josh Duggar has resigned from his post with the Family Research Council and TLC stopped airing "19 Kids and Counting."
Josh's parents told Megyn Kelly that they did not try to cover up their son's actions as critics have claimed. Josh first confessed he had touched two of his sisters through their clothes while they slept, they said. When they talked to the girls they had not even been aware it had happened.
They immediately took safeguards to ensure he didn't have access to the girls alone or while they were sleeping, the parents said, though they did not elaborate.
When Josh confessed a year later his actions had continued and he had touched a sister younger than 10, they sent him out of the house to work with a Christian counselor, who they said turned him around.
Nothing ever happened again, they said.
Josh asked forgiveness of his victims and received it, they said, and then they went to the police since his actions had been a crime. Jim Bob Duggar said the action wasn't legally required because parents are not bound to report on their children.
They said they did not know if Josh would be arrested when they took him to talk to a state police officer.
The children all received professional counseling afterward, the Duggars said.
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