Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are defending their handling of eldest son Josh’s molestation of five underage girls, including four of their own daughters.
In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File” Wednesday, the reality TV stars went into great detail about what exactly happened 12 years ago when Josh, the eldest son of the “19 Kids and Counting” family, confessed to having touched some of his younger sisters and a babysitter inappropriately.
“There were a couple of times he came and told us what he had done,” Jim Bob Duggar told Kelly of how they found out about Josh’s actions. “Again, this was not rape or anything like that, it was touching someone over the clothes. There were a couple of times he touched someone under the clothes for a few seconds. Each time he came and told us, crying. It was the third time that we decided we needed help.”
“I think as parents we felt, ‘We’re failures,'” Michelle Duggar told Kelly in a previously released clip. “You know, here we tried to raise our kids to do what’s right, to know what’s right, and yet one of our children made really bad choices. And I think, as a parent, we were devastated.”
The Duggars mostly sidestepped questions about how they handled Josh’s confessions — and how quickly they went to local authorities. “Looking back,” Jim Bob said, “we did the best we could under the circumstances.”
The duo, prompted by Kelly, also spent a great deal of time blaming the tabloids for spreading the story around, as well as Arkansas authorities for allowing the illegal release of Josh’s sealed juvenile records detailing his actions.
The parents also blamed the tabloid media for re-victimizing the daughters who were touched inappropriately by Josh as children.
“They’ve been victimized more by what’s happened in these past few weeks than they were 12 years ago,” Michelle said, citing the fact that most of Josh’s actions occurred when the girls were asleep and they never fully understood what was happening.
The interview also featured Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of the five victims alleged to have been molested by Josh, speaking out for the first time. A fuller version of Jill and Jessa’s interview is scheduled to air on Fox News on Friday.
TLC has pulled all currently airing episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” from the air, but has not outright canceled the show. Advertisers including Walgreens, Payless and Choice Hotels have already pulled out of airing spots during the show.
Watch the video below.