I believe in forgiveness, redemption, contrition, and rehabilitation. I believe that both rehabilitation, retribution, and protection are the purpose of prison, and without all three, society will remain stagnant. When the news of Josh Duggar’s vile molestation of young women (including his sisters) made it’s way to the media, I was floored. You’d guess that a family with such stringent, judgmental views on what should and should not define child-raising would think twice before boasting about their chosen path, when their path produced such a deplorable act. They have long espoused that gay people should not raise children, that transgendered individuals should not share bathrooms with young kids, and so on.
The sad story was revealed by In Touch Weekly, who obtained the police reports via the Freedom of Information Act on a hunch I can only assume began when various social media comment sections exposed this hidden truth. Someone knew this secret, and through relentless comment campaigning, a tabloid took the reigns.
The official police investigation of Duggar only began when Oprah’s team got wind of the allegation shortly before a planned interview, and subsequently cancelled the sit-down along with tipping off authorities. The most damning part of the story is that upon first learning of his son’s acts, it’s alleged that the family’s patriarch did nothing. When the acts continued for another year, he then sent his son to seek help at a “treatment center,” which it’s later revealed consisted more of physical labor than psychological help. Following his “treatment,” Jim Bob turned his son into then-Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens who personally knew the Duggars and decided to also do nothing other than give “a stern talk.” By the time the rumor mill got wind and Oprah’s team turned them in, the Statute of Limitations had lapse and Jim Bob refused to cooperate with police. In short, it appears they protected their son at the expense of their daughters.
Since this very sad set of events has been revealed, some are coming to Josh’s defense, and the family has conveniently reminded the public that God is forgiving, and they are closer to God more now than ever. I will now take a moment to reiterate the start of this post. While faith in God is a sweet sound bite and forgiveness is a virtue, there is zero evidence to suggest that Josh received the necessary help or that his family did anything to protect their own children. I am willing to believe that there is rehabilitation for pedophiles and child molesters (albeit rare), provided the proper steps are taken. Those steps were not taken here. I don’t know this family, and statistics suggest that child molesters were often molested in their own childhood and that trauma manifests into inflicting trauma on others. It’s possible that Josh’s story is far more complex than we know, but what I know for sure is this. A family with demons should be the last to demonize others, and depraved individuals deserve help. This family should not be celebrated, TLC should cancel the show, and they should take more responsibility for mishandling this.