Just hours after In Touch Weekly exclusively shared a police report in which 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was accused of child molestation, the father-of-three, 27, has broken his silence and confirmed the allegations.
In a statement, he said:
“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.
“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.”
In the aftermath of his confession, Josh has resigned from his position at the Family Research Council. His parents and wife, Anna, have supported him throughout the ordeal.
Jim Bob and Michelle released a joint statement regarding their son’s troubling past:
“Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives.
“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.
“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 everyday. 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.”
Anna, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s fourth child, said she understands the disbelief many 19 Kids and Counting fans are experiencing — because she lived through it herself:
“I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock.
“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.
“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," she says. "Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right.”
Josh insists remorse has followed him his entire life.
“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” he says.
“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.”