According to a sealed 2006 police report obtained by inTouch Weekly, Josh Duggar, the oldest son of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting brood, confessed to allegedly molesting at least five underage girls when he was a teenager—including, TMZ reports, his sisters. And his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, worked overtime to hide the scandal for several years. UPDATE: Josh Duggar has confirmed the reports.
The Duggar family apparently knew about their eldest son’s alleged sexual misconduct since 2002, the police report states, but did not take action until a year later. And a formal investigation into the allegations was not launched until 2006, when an anonymous source leaked information about the sexual abuse to producers on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show.
Below is an approximate timeline—built from inTouch’s reporting and police records from when Jim Bob and Michelle were interviewed by detectives—of when Josh Duggar was first accused of sexual abuse and when the family was finally brought in for questioning.
March 2002: A young girl told Jim Bob that Josh (then 14 years old) “had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept.”
July 2002: Josh admits to fondling the young girl from March.
March 2003: 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.)
July 2003: Josh returns home from his “time away” in Little Rock, and is taken to a state trooper, flanked by his father Jim Bob and church elders. From InTouch:
Jim Bob told police in 2006 that when Josh returned home in 2003, Jim Bob, accompanied by some of his church elders, took Josh to Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens. Jim Bob knew Hutchens personally. Hutchens did not take any official action and instead gave Josh a “very stern talk.”
According to inTouch, Hutchens is now currently serving 56 years in prison for child pornography and never charged Josh Duggar.
At some point after Josh admitted the sexual abuse to his family, the police report states, a family friend apparently wrote a letter detailing the entire scandal, the family’s involvement, and the alleged victims. That letter was folded up and placed in a book, which was eventually loaned to a member of the Duggars’ church, who discovered the letter inside.
2006: A source only identified as “a 61-year-old woman” emails Harpo Studios ahead of the family’s scheduled appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and “warns” producers about Josh’s alleged sexual misconduct. From inTouch:
Harpo Studios faxed the letter to the Department of Human Services hotline. The report was then opened for investigation, leading to the investigation by Springdale police.
When police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for an interview in 2006, he attempted to hire a lawyer and refused to produce his son for questioning. At least two lawyers refused to take his case. “Det. Hignite received a voice mail from Mr. Duggar stating that [redacted] had hired an attorney and would not be coming in for an interview.”
The Duggars cancelled their Oprah appearance. Josh was able to avoid any potential prosecution because of the statute of limitations had expired.
“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. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”