19 Kids and Counting bombshell. Hours after rumors surfaced that Josh Duggar was accused of child molestation, the TLC reality star responded to the allegations in a lengthy statement.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh, 27, said in a statement posted to the family's Facebook account on Thursday, May 21.
"I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."
He added: "I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
TMZ reported earlier today that Duggar — 14 at the time — was investigated for sexually molesting five girls, some allegedly his sisters, starting in 2002. According to the police report, he allegedly fondled the breasts and genitals of the females, and a 2006 family interview with Oprah Winfrey was cancelled when an unidentified person warned Harpo productions of his actions.
Duggar's conservative parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, also released a statement of their own Thursday. "Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," they shared via Facebook. "When Josh was a young teenager, 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."
They continued: "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."
Duggar, who is expecting his fourth child with wife Anna Duggar, 26, has resigned from the Family Research Council amid the scandal.
"Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins tells Us Weekly in a statement. "Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved."
Duggar's wife, who is sticking by him, also revealed that he confessed about his past two years before they tied the knot. (The couple are parents to daughter Mackynzie Renee, 5, and sons Michael James, 3, and Marcus Anthony, 23 months.)
"I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock," she explained. "When my family and I first visited the Duggar home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even every difficult past mistakes."
She added: "He continued to do what he was taught. [I know] who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right."
In regards to Duggar's statement, RAINN tells Us: "Sexual abuse of a child is a serious crime that should always be reported to and investigated by law enforcement. If you or somebody you know has been a victim of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 for free, confidential help at 800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org, y en espanol: rainn.org/es. Hotline staff are trained to help survivors of all types of sexual violence, including sexual abuse or assault perpetrated by a family member."
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