Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sat down with Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly to tell their side of the story about the allegations against their eldest son, Josh. If you don’t know, the 27-year-old confessed, following the leak of a police report, to improperly touching five young girls over a decade ago.
A lot of the focus was on how the parents felt upon learning what their son had done, and how they feel now that the world knows all about it. And while Kelly also fired off questions about specifics of what exactly took place, Jim Bob and Michelle spent most of the time talking about themselves. And Josh. And NO.
He’s a grown man, husband and father but he still has his mommy and daddy speaking for him, defending him for his crimes. Yet everything we know about the crimes is according to Josh. It’s everything (or supposedly everything?) he confessed to them back in the day. But despite telling them that “he had actually improperly touched some of our daughters,” it took a third “wrongdoing” for them to realize he needed outside help and Josh was sent away to a Christian-inspired ‘rehab’ place in Little Rock.
Everything’s OK because he went to them
“I think that we had one ray of hope in that Josh had a tender conscience and that he was the one that came and shared on his own even though the others didn’t know anything of his wrongdoing,” Michelle explained.
None of Josh’s victims knew what happened
According to Jim Bob and Michelle, neither of their four daughters or the unnamed babysitter knew what happened at the time. Jim Bob insisted that the girls had all been “sleeping” and had been totally unaware of what Josh had done. “So they learned about it from you,” Kelly clarified. “Yes,” the Duggars confidently replied. Though JB did mess up his initial claim and spoke of some “under the clothes” occurrences in the next point.
It’s not like he raped anyone
“This was not rape or anything like that. This was, like, touching over the clothes. There were a couple instances where he touched someone under the clothes, but for like a few seconds.” And then Michelle cut him off and that was the end of that. For now.
Michelle always made it about Josh. “It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But they weren’t even aware. To them they probably didn’t even understand that it was an improper touch.” But you did, Michelle.
They set boundaries for all the kids, not just Josh
Aside from sending Josh to get help, Jim Bob and Michelle also set up “safeguards” for their daughters and changed the “rules” for how the brothers and sisters interacted with one another. Rather than tackling Josh’s behaviour and letting the punishment fit the crime (because, honestly, they couldn’t watch Josh “all the time” like they claimed), they made changes for all their kids. So, boys weren’t allowed to babysit, the kids couldn’t play hide and seek together, no one could be alone in a room with just one other person, little ones couldn’t sit on “big boys’ laps… There’s boundaries that we’ve learned.”
Josh isn’t a pedophile
The Duggars define a pedo as an adult who preys on children and since Josh was a child at the time of the incidents, they don’t believe he is one. “Joshua was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did,” said Jim Bob. “And I think that the legal definition is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.” Glad he cleared that up.
Not once did they say the word “sorry”
OK, well, they said it once when recalling the time Josh left the house, and they told the other children he had “done some very bad things and he’s, he’s sorry.” But the apology that is sorely needed is to their daughters and their babysitter at the time for not protecting them more after Josh first came to them.
The worst is yet to come
The second half of the interview airs Friday and features Josh’s younger sisters Jill and Jessa — who just happen to be two of his victims. Fox News publicized their names and their parents okayed it and that’s crazy considering other media out there refused to identify the victims by name. There’s a clip of their sit-down with Kelly and it’s absolutely devastating that these two young women have to go through this so publicly while Josh continues to hide out.