Since 19 Kids and Counting’s Josh Duggar admitted that when he was a teenager he molested some of his sisters, many have backed away from the reality TV family—TLC execs and former Duggar-backed candidate for president Rick Santorum included. But the Duggars still have their supporters. I know this because they’ve emailed me.
Among the most disturbing details of last week’s InTouch story about molestation perpetrated by 19 Kids and Counting’s Josh Duggar as a teenager was the revelation that Josh had confessed to the abuse to state trooper, only to be let off after a “stern talk” with the trooper—a family friend who was subsequently arrested on child porn charges.
If you watch the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting starring confirmed child molester Josh Duggar, chances are you’re familiar with the Bates family. From their frequent appearances on the show since 2009, to a 2012 TLC special entitled “The Bates Family: And Baby Makes 19,” to a now-canceled 2012 TLC show United Bates of America, to the new ratings success Bringing Up Bates on “family-oriented” network UPtv, Gil and Kelly Bates have never been shy about their friendship with the Duggars.
Last week, 19 Kids and Counting’s Josh Duggar admitted that he molested his sisters when he was a teenager. Though his parents Jim Bob and Michelle successfully helped him avoid prosecution for his crimes, a couple of men have defended the way the Duggars handled the abusive situation in their home. Mike Huckabee has stood by the family in the wake of the scandal, and Jessa Duggar’s father-in-law Michael Seewald has attested that Jim Bob and Michelle “acted in a way that godly parents should.”
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.