Josh Duggar quits Family Research Council after sex abuse scandal emerges; admits acting 'inexcusably'

by Kimberly Pennington |

(REUTERS/Brian Frank/FILE PHOTO)Josh Duggar, speaking as the Executive Director of the Family Research Council Action, at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014, stepped down from FRC May 21, 2015 amidst allegations he molested five underage girls when he was a teen, 12 years ago. He admitted he "acted inecusably."

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- Josh Duggar, the 27-year-old head of Family Research Council Action and a star of 19 Kids and Counting amidst allegations he molested several underage girls when he was 14 years old, stepped down yesterday after admitting he "acted inexcusably" and "hurt others." 

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. 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.
- Josh Duggar, 27

"I am extremely sorry," Duggar said on a Facebook post to the information that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has said was previously unknown to him.

Perkins issued a public statement supporting Duggar's decision.

"Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years," Perkins said. "Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved."

A tabloid magazine reported it obtained a redacted police report under the Freedom of Information Act which shows incidents dating back to 2002 that allegedly involved contact with five females, four of whom were Duggar's sisters.

The publication also alleged the police report indicates that Duggar's father, Jim Bob, and elders at their church waited twelve months and three months respectively after learning of the allegations before contacting local authorities.

In Touch Weekly reported Jim Dob Duggar, along with some church elders, at that time took Josh Duggar to Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, who gave the teen a "very stern talk." Hutchens, according to the tabloid is now serving 56 years in prison for child pornography.

We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us -- even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey -- the good times and the difficult times -- cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.
- Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

In the Facebook post, and in a statement PEOPLE Magazine, Duggar said he had extreme sorrow and deep regret.

"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. 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," he said.

Duggar's wife Anna, who remains supportive of him, said she learned of the past situation from Duggar himself prior to their marriage and believes that counseling had helped him.

Parents Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, also issued a joint statement posted on Facebook and apparently delivered first to PEOPLE Magazine for its Exclusive Report.

"When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God.

"We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family," the Duggar parents continued. "We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us -- even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey -- the good times and the difficult times -- cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."

It has been reported that Duggar's family members have forgiven him and remain supportive of him. Still more reports have emerged that Duggar never received formal counseling but instead stayed with a family friend for a period of time.

According to one news story, the 2006 police investigation began when the family was scheduled to make an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. Someone reported the rumors of sexual abuse to Winfrey's staff who contacted state child welfare officials in Arkansas. By the time police investigated the situation, the three-year statute of limitations had expired.

At this time, TLC which airs 19 Kids and Counting, has not commented publicly on the situation or the future of the show. A series-record 4.4 million people watched the show in October, according to deadline.com, to watch a first kiss on a show featuring a Duggar wedding.

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