Megyn Kelly sat down with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to get their side of the story regarding the allegations against their son, Josh. The 27-year-old 19 Kids and Counting star confessed to improperly touching five young girls more than a decade ago following the May leak of a police report about his actions, and the family decided to tell their side of the story in an interview on The Kelly File, which aired Wednesday, June 3
Throughout the hourlong special, the Fox News anchor focused on how the parents were feeling —both when they'd first learned of what their son had done and, more recently, when the rest of the world learned about it too. In between Kelly's frequent questions about the Duggars' emotional state, she did work in a fair number of harder-hitting queries relating to specifics of what exactly took place in the early 2000s. Here are the top eight revelations from Kelly's chat with the TLC stars.
1. How Jim Bob and Michelle Found Out
"Twelve years ago, we went through one of the most darkest times that our family has ever gone through," Jim Bob began. "Our son Josh came to us on his own and he was crying and he had just turned 14 and he said he had actually, improperly touched some of our daughters."
Michelle quickly jumped in. "We were shocked. We were just devastated," she added. "I don't think any parent is prepared for a trauma like that."
The mom of 19 quickly shifted the focus to what she saw as the silver lining of the ordeal. "I think that we had one ray of hope in that Josh had a tender conscience and that he was the one that came and shared on his own even though the others didn't know anything of his wrongdoing," she explained.
2. None of Josh's Victims Knew What Had Happened
According to Jim Bob and Michelle, none of their daughters knew what happened at the time. Jim Bob insisted that the girls had all been "sleeping" and had been totally unaware of what Josh had done. "So they learned about it from you," Kelly clarified. "Yes," the Duggars confidently replied.
3. How They Responded at First — and What Finally Convinced Them to Send Josh Away
Explaining his decision not to send Josh away for treatment the first time he told them what he'd done, Jim Bob stood by his and his wife's actions. "We talked to him. We put all kinds of punishments on him. We watched him all the time. I took him to work with me and we just poured our life into it," the family patriarch recalled. But despite their best efforts, it seemed that Josh wasn't as on the mend as they'd hoped.
"After the third time he came to us was when we felt like, 'We've done everything we can as parents. We need to get outside help,'" Jim Bob said. "Some of my best friends came over. We talked about it. At that point, we pulled Josh out of the home and we knew a man who mentors young men. He really helped young men who had made unwise choices in their lives to get straightened out." That's when Josh was sent for a semi-unofficial, Christian-inspired rehabilitation in Little Rock.
4. Their Version of What Happened When They Took Josh to the Police Station
Though Jim Bob admitted that he did know many of the police force in his town back then because he owned a towing business at the time, he adamantly denied that they'd sought out a particularly friendly or lenient officer to handle Josh's confession. (It has recently come out that the police officer who took Josh's statement and did not choose to press charges is now serving a sentence for child pornography.)
"I didn't know anything about this guy except that he was an officer there in the headquarters," Jim Bob declared, while adding that "Josh told everything." Kelly reiterated that the officer is now insisting that Josh only confessed to one incident and is citing this as the reason he didn't pursue formal charges. When the host questioned the Duggars about why this former policeman would lie, Jim Bob basically shrugged it off and said he didn't know.
5. Why the Duggars Think the Police Decided to Divulge the Story Now
So many years after the fact, why would the police release these records? Though neither Jim Bob nor Michelle claimed to know for sure, they both speculated it could be due to an agenda or a bribe, and agreed "it definitely wasn't to be caring about the victims." Jim Bob also added an interesting side note about one of the officials involved.
"Josh had talked to her one day at a meeting and he said hi to her and stuck out his hand and she turned and wouldn't talk to him. She was getting ready to retire and just even a few weeks ago she said, 'I'm getting ready to retire and there's a few things I want to do before I retire,'" he recalled. "I think I was on the list."
6. They Are Considering Legal Action
Though they admitted they weren't sure if they were going to file lawsuits against the city or police department (or any other possible parties), Jim Bob and Michelle did reveal that they are talking to lawyers.
7. They Don't Consider Josh a Pedophile
The Duggar parents' basic argument was that the definition of a pedophile is an adult who preys on children, and that Josh was a child at the time of the incidents. "You do not view Josh as a pedophile," Kelly asked point-blank, to which both parents quickly replied with a resounding no.
"Every one of us has done things wrong. That's why Jesus came," Michelle declared after being asked this question about her son. "There's an agenda, and there's people that are purposing to try to bring things out and twisting them to hurt and slander."
8. Even They Don't Know the Future of Their TLC Show
"At this point our family is just trying to regroup from these attacks," Jim Bob said. "I don't know if the rest of our family should be punished for the act of one of our children — something that happened 12 years ago — or not, but you know, we are fine whether they film us or not. We're going to live life and we're going to go on and serve God."
"We're going to enjoy our children and enjoy our grandchildren and continue on with life," Michelle echoed. "Either way we're at peace."
The segment wrapped with Kelly revealing that she will sit down with two of Josh's victims, his sisters Jessa and Jill, in a special interview airing on Friday, June 5, on Fox News.
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