It turns out that Josh Duggar, oldest son of the Duggar family (the one famous for reproducing faster than a pair of Mormon rabbits and for opposing gay rights) molested some minors several years ago. We’re finding out about it now because the statute of limitations is up:
The Duggars, the reality TV family famous for its progeny (19 Kids and Counting) and its conservatism, is reeling now that oldest son, Josh, has been forced to acknowledge he was investigated for molesting underage girls when he was a teenager in Arkansas.
His acknowledgement came after InTouch magazine published a story Thursday about police records it obtained from Springdale, Ark., hidden since 2006, that show Josh Duggar confessed to his father, Jim Bob Duggar, who then waited more than a year before contacting police about what his then 15-year-old son admitting doing to five girls.
Some of Josh’s victims were 11 years-old. Josh started molesting children in 2002, a year later it came to light with some members of their church who didn’t call the police. Instead, they shipped him off to help a family friend in Little Rock who is in the business of remodeling homes:
Josh is accused of having molested “several” more minors, “often when they slept, but at times when they were awake.” Jim Bob then brings this information before his church’s leadership and the group collectively decides to send Josh to a “program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling.” Josh is away at this “program” from March 2003 to July 2003.
(Michelle Duggar admits in 2006 to police that Josh never saw a counselor, but was instead shipped off “to a family friend who was in the home remodeling business” in Little Rock, Ark.)
A year later his parents did finally “contact the police” in the form of a very particular family friend who was a state trooper:
InTouch reported that his father took Josh to an Arkansas state trooper who was a personal friend, who took no action other than a “very stern talk.” That officer is now serving a 56-year term in prison for child pornography, the magazine reported, and no case was ever brought against Josh Duggar.
No wonder they were friends: the trooper and their oldest son had things in common.
The reasoning the family friend gave at the time for not taking action was that Josh had “already gone through a treatment program.” It goes without say that helping a family friend remodel their house doesn’t count as a treatment program. [I consulted a mental health professional about this, see the end of the post]
And hey, now that the statute of limitations is up, the rest of us get to hear about it – and nothing will happen to Duggar. Hey, hey – it’s ok he got off completely free from molesting minors, he’ll get judged by god…after he dies…where nobody can confirm it….so there’s no need for the standards of justice that apply to everybody else in this lifetime, right? Right?. Ain’t Christian morality grand?
Here in Arkansas you don’t have to go far to find support for the Duggars (who live in Springdale and work hard to foment anti-gay sentiment all over the state). Here’s a winner from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
If any of you would actually read the article – a 15 year old boy got to 1st and 2nd base with teenage girls. There was no intercourse and nothing implies that it was non-consensual. He did nothing more than any other teenage boys and girls do. But due to his strict Christian upbringing, he confessed to his father – who I am sure wanted him to stay pure until marriage. He then reprimanded him and took him to the police. Tell me that there are any of your who didn’t get into some heavy petting when you were a teenager – boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl – whatever you preference is. Get over yourself and your causes!
Nothing implies that it was non-consensual…except that his victims were asleep. It’s hard to consent when you’re unconscious. I wonder how hogfan2012 would feel if I entered his house in the middle of the night (hey, he was too asleep to tell me not to, so I guess that counts as consent) and took an epic two-flush monster shit on his bed (again, he never said “no”)? That’s actually a lie, I don’t wonder how he’d feel. He’d feel violated and disgusted, but somehow his allegiance to other god-botherers keeps him from having the minimal amount of empathy required to imagine Duggar’s victims would feel the same way.
But these are the people who are defending Josh Duggar: believers, lovers of Christ and full of all the morality the religion purportedly instills. It’s people who will oppose gay marriage with every iota of energy in their body on the faulty assumption that gay people will molest their children, but they’ll defend an actual child molester. It’s the same thing we saw when the Catholic Church was shielding its child rapists.
Maybe in some people Christianity does make them kinder. But far more often I see Christianity promote blind allegiance to religion and to religious leaders, overriding the sense of empathy and compassion that would ordinarily inform their reaction to things like child molesters and LGBT-hate – and they just call that “morality.” It’s a bit like calling feces fragrant because you’re too fucking lazy to clean it up.
You can read the family’s statement on facebook. I counted: they mentioned god six times and mentioned the victims zero times. That’s fucked up. The message is very much “God forgives me so you should too.” This provides a handy lesson, one the Duggars clearly knew well over a decade ago: god isn’t worth much for protecting the innocent at the time. If you or I were there, we would’ve stopped Josh Duggar, but not god. Protecting the guilty afterward though? He’s great for that.
You have three children, Josh, one of them a daughter. How would you feel about someone molesting her and then walking away completely free? Or one of your sisters?
I guess that hypothetical is meaningless since someone has molested some of your sisters, Josh – someone you know very, very well. It was you:
Josh allegedly molested 5 girls starting in 2002 when he was 14. Some of the girls are his sisters.
Now imagine for a moment there was someone else in the room, a person who could’ve stopped Josh. This person made no move, said nothing, and just watched Josh molest these kids each and every time. If we told the police that, they’d call him an accomplice and be searching for him even as I write this post.
But call him god and people continue to worship him, and to believe he’s the source of all the good in the world – and that we, the people who would’ve stopped Josh if we’d been there, are unworthy of him.
I reached out to a mental health professional to get a quote on the efficacy of remodeling homes as a form of counseling. I asked, “Does sending someone to help a friend remodel homes count as counseling in the wake of molesting children?” He responded:
Holy shit, no. Self-respecting mental health professionals reserve the term “therapy” for practices that have been shown to actually work. If we just let any one slap the term “counselling” or “therapy” on any action a lay person believes works, there’s no end to the harm this will cause.
At the end of the day, patients have a very real expectation that they’re receiving therapy that works, and this kind of nonsense is a slap in the face to the confidence that patients have.
Not that it required consulting a mental health professional to know that helping a friend remodel homes doesn’t count as therapy, but it’s good to have confirmation.