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Developments in the Josh Duggar molestation story

Josh and Anna Duggar

Josh and Anna Duggar (Photo by Beth Caldwell/DCL via TLC)

Over the long weekend, there were several developments in the story of Josh Duggar’s molestation of his sisters and the family’s reaction to it. The Duggars’ TLC series, 19 Kids and Counting, remains off the air but has not been cancelled despite the allegations and ensuing scandal.

  • A judge in Arkansas ordered police to destroy their records of the case, and police complied. The reason, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is that “one of the victims is still a minor and that the child’s identity might be revealed.” The report, however, had already been obtained by the media.
  • In 2007, a message board participant first revealed what happened with Josh. That commenter, Alice, wrote, “Oprah was informed that Josh, the oldest son, had been molesting his sisters. Yes, this is the truth. Oprah turned them over to the Arkansas State Police Child Protection Agency and the Washington County Child Protection Agency.” Alice also wrote, “The Duggar’s want to keep this hid. Wouldn’t you?”
  • Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas who’s currently running for president and was endorsed by the Duggars, wrote on Facebook about his “support for the Duggar family.” He insists that Josh “and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities” (try again) and criticizes people “who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family [and] have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst.”
  • Fake memes with fake quotes from conservative politicians have been circulating.
  • An old interview from a book tour reveals that four Duggar daughters learned to kiss from watching their parents and Josh. Jezebel’s Mark Shrayber writes that “it’s incredibly painful to read about Jessa discussing the fact that her oldest brother is a good kisser, especially if she’s pretending that her brother hasn’t hurt her sisters or has been brain-washed into believing that it wasn’t his fault.”
  • Jessa’s husband’s father wrote a blog post defending the Duggars. Michael Seewald wrote, “I believe that Josh’s parents acted in a way that godly parents should. They did not turn a blind eye, but earnestly sought help from the church, counselors, and eventually the police. Maybe they didn’t do it in a way that pleases everyone, but they acted decisively to confront the sin, to call a penitent son back from his errors, and to seek to aid the hurting victims.” He also told Josh that Jesus was punished on his behalf: “the shame you feel is legitimate, yet Jesus took your shame as he was punished in your place.”
  • Responding to a critic of the Duggars and a critic of the Quiverfull movement, a pastor’s wife argued on Facebook that molesting unconscious younger siblings is harmless play. She also manages to blame the victims: “When I was a kid, it was often called ‘playing doctor’, there were just as many girls initiating this kind of behavior as boys. Most of those never went on to perp horrible things.”
  • Here’s more on the fundamentalist religion known as Quiverfull:
  • Josh Duggar made an incest joke on the series in 2008.
  • Jim Bob and Michelle described Josh’s molestation of his sisters as “very bad mistakes,” but BuzzFeed News reports that experts say “diminishes both the effect on victims and the seriousness of the crime.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.