Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar opened up to Fox's Megyn Kelly
this week and said their daughters were unaware that older brother Josh fondled them as they slept years ago.
“He said he was just curious about girls, and he had gone in and basically just touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping," Jim Bob Duggar said on Wednesday's "The Kelly File."
Speaking out publicly for the first time about the scandal that has led to the cancellation of their TLC show "19 Kids & Counting," the Duggar parents said they were "devastated" when they first learned of their now-27-year-old son's transgressions in 2002 and 2003. His five victims reportedly included four of his younger sisters and a babysitter, the family said.
“One by one, as we talked with them, none of them were aware of Josh's wrong doings,” Michelle Duggar said. “It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But they weren't even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn't — to them they didn't probably even understand that it was an improper touch."
During an hour-long exclusive interview, the couple outlined what happened from the time their then-14-year-old son Josh first came to them crying.
“I think we had one ray of hope in that Josh had a tender conscience and he was the one that came and shared on his own, even though the others really didn’t know anything of his wrongdoing,” Michelle Duggar said.
Jim Bob said he remembers taking Josh to work with him and punishing him at home. The family agreed to continue "keeping an eye on Josh . . . all the time and watching his behaviors, watching his attitudes."
However, after two additional incidents, “we felt we had to get help,” Jim Bob said. Josh was sent to a man in Little Rock for counseling, an experience his father defined as “the turning point of his life," according to Fox.
The parents ultimately took their son to the local Arkansas State police office.
“We felt it was an important step for Josh to confess to the police,” Jim Bob said.
A series of events prevented Josh Duggar from being prosecuted and the statute of limitations has since passed, meaning he likely won't face any legal repercussions for his actions.
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