Josh Duggar, one of the stars of reality TV shows about America’s most-famous large family, has acknowledged molesting underage girls as a minor teenager.
In Touch Weekly tabloid reported the accusation Thursday, citing a 2006 police report from the Springdale, Arkansas, police department.
The report includes graphic details including that some of the accusations were potential felonies and involved five girls. Mr. Duggar, born in 1988, would have been a juvenile himself at the time.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Mr. Duggar, one of the sons of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” fame, said on Facebook. “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,” Josh Duggar said. “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.”
The incidents spanned from 2002 and 2003 and were apparently handled serially outside official legal channels by the Duggars, church officials, and some officer and detective acquaintances.
They only became official legal matters when the Duggars were scheduled to appear on “Oprah” in 2006 and Miss Winfrey’s producers received a complaint from a 61-year-old woman whom InTouch said is not identified in Arkansas legal papers. Harpo Studios alerted the state Department of Human Services.
“The report was then opened for investigation, leading to the investigation by Springdale police. When police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for an interview in 2006, he attempted to hire a lawyer and refused to produce his son for questioning,” In Touch reported. “Police had to abandon pursuing charges because the [then] three-year statute of limitations had expired.”
As a result of the reports, Mr. Duggar resigned his post as executive director of FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the social-conservative Family Research Council group.
“Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Daily Caller. “We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.”
The TLC show began its 10th season in February. Josh is the eldest of the 19 children, two of whom have been born since the show began as “17 Kids and Counting” in 2008.
Josh is himself married and his wife, Anna, is expecting their fourth child.