Cover up and hypocrisy: A conspiracy to “forgive and forget” allowed Josh Duggar, the oldest son of “19 Kids and Counting” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, to escape criminal prosecution for sexually assaulting four of his underage sisters plus an additional underage female victim.
The disgraced Josh Duggar has now admitted to what police reports confirm: the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar forcibly fondled and sexually assaulted at least five underage girls, including four of his sisters, on multiple occasions, over the span of several years, while he was a teenager.
Josh Duggar was never prosecuted for his crimes. Jim Bob Duggar waited over 1 year to alert police to the fact that his son was sexually abusing his daughters, despite the fact that both Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were aware that multiple incidents of sexual abuse in their home had occurred.
However, Jim Bob Duggar did tell members of his church about Josh’s offenses, but the church leadership also chose to wait months before notifying the police, thus participating in the cover up.
When the police were finally informed of the crime no charges were filed, despite the fact that during the 2006 investigation, multiple victims testified to police that Josh Duggar had sexually molested them.
Jim Bob told police, when he was interviewed in 2006, that Josh had been “disciplined” for his actions, explaining that the Duggars sent their son to a Christian program at the advice of their church elders. It turns out that “program” entailed working for a family friend remodeling a building.
According to the police report, Josh Duggar apologized to the girls he had sexually assaulted, and family members told police that the girls had “forgiven” him. One victim told police that Josh “sought after God and had turned back to God.”
Because of a three-year statute of limitations, Josh Duggar has apparently escaped prosecution. Questions remain as to why police failed to act on the allegations at the time, as well as why the family waited over a year before reporting the sexual assaults.
Perhaps more disturbing than the fact that Josh Duggar avoided any legal consequences for his crimes, is the family’s apparent complete and total disregard for the victims of Josh Duggar – his underage sisters.
One in five girls in this country is a victim of child sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, and 3 out of 4 adolescent victims of sexual assault knew the perpetrator well, according to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report.
Commenting on the Duggar scandal, Jonny Scaramanga, writing at Leaving Fundamentalism, notes:
Groups like Homeschoolers Anonymous have been warning about the abuse in patriarchal Christian movements for years. They’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen how abuse is facilitated by the power structures in that world, and how the same system works to cover it up. How many more victims do there have to be? When will people start to listen? If anything good can come out of this atrocity, it would be for it to become the tipping point where people start to take safeguarding in homeschooling and fundamentalist environments seriously.
Scaramanga’s warnings about the dangers of Christian homeschooling cannot be overemphasized. It is clear the Duggar’s radical Christian lifestyle known as the Quiverfull movement contributed to and facilitated the sexual abuse and subsequent cover up.
(Portions of this article were previously published here)