Sister of reality star Josh Duggar says she was a victim
NEW YORK — One of reality TV star Josh Duggar’s sisters says in a television interview airing Wednesday that she was a victim of her older brother, who has been accused of sexual misconduct as a teenager.
In a Fox News Channel interview, Jessa Duggar says she wants to defend her brother. She says accusations that he is a child molester or pedophile are “so overboard and a lie.”
The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual mistreatment. But Jessa Duggar is speaking publicly.
It wasn’t clear in a quote provided by Fox what Josh Duggar did. He apologized for unspecified bad behavior when he resigned last month as a Family Research Council lobbyist. All of Josh’s siblings, and Josh, received professional counseling after the revelations.
The Duggar family is featured in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” TLC has put the show on hold.
Also on Wednesday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the matriarch and patriarch of the Duggar family, appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show to speak out on the incident, and they say that they don’t view their eldest son as a pedophile.
“We were shocked. I mean, we were just devastated. I don’t think any parent is prepared for trauma like that,” Michelle said of the time after a then-14-year-old Josh admitted the abuse. “I think we had one ray of hope in that Josh had a tender conscience.”
Michelle went on to discuss how she felt as a parent. “I think as parents we felt like failures.”
Jim Bob said that the family was aware of the issue. “Michelle and I both were keeping an eye on Josh all the time and watching his behavior,” he said. “After that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, ‘we have done everything we can as parents…We need to get help.'”
Jim Bob is just happy that Josh, who is now 27 and married with three children and a fourth on the way, has confessed his crimes to police because “he had broken the law.”
Jim Bob also spoke a bit about the specific abuse, which the family has refrained from describing thus far. “The girls didn’t know anything had happened because they were asleep,” he said.