19 Kids & Counting tainted by sexual abuse scandal

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19 Kids & Counting tainted by sexual abuse scandal

Post  Mimi on Tue 02 Jun 2015, 5:27 pm



http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/22/josh-duggar-sexual-abuse-19-kids-counting-tlc

Have any of you seen this vomit producing series on American TV - I saw it once - that was enough.



Josh Duggar and the sexual abuse allegations rocking 19 Kids and Counting
The star of the reality show about a large and politically influential Christian family has been accused of sexually assaulting several young girls including some of his sisters. What TLC plans to do with the show remains to be seen
TLC takes Duggar family show off air after sexual abuse by son comes to light

Commentators have noted the emphasis on ruining ‘his’ life in his resignation statement, and the lack of admission over ruining the lives of the young women he assaulted.

Friday 22 May 2015 17.46 BST Last modified on Monday 25 May 2015 11.40 BST

On TLC’s hit reality show 19 Kids and Counting, the Arkansas-based Duggars were a kind of family we don’t see in America any more – huge, close-knit, wholesome. The 19 kids didn’t talk back to their parents, Jim Bob and Michelle. There was no swearing. Several of the children entered into chaste, religious-oriented “courtships” and married not long after. But just below the perfect facade was a huge scandal waiting to break loose.

This week the Duggars’ eldest son, Josh, 27, who is married with three children and one more due next month, was accused of having sexually assaulted five young girls in 2002, when he was 15 years old. Because the allegations were initially brought forth by In Touch, a weekly supermarket tabloid, few major outlets took them seriously. But then In Touch brought out their smoking gun: a police report.

In the 33-page document, the names of Duggar’s victims were redacted, but it became clear that at least some of them also had parents named Jim Bob and Michelle and lived in the same home, meaning that some of Josh’s sisters must have been among the five victims. The damning document also included information about how Jim Bob had waited a year before taking his son to the police and that the Duggars had opted for private religious mediation and prayer instead of professional counseling.

Yesterday, Josh confirmed in a statement that he had made “mistakes” and resigned his job as executive director of FRC Action, lobbying arm of the Family Research Council (FRC), a rightwing activist group. In a typical example of its hardline views, the FRC has a page on its website arguing that gay people should not be allowed to work with children, claiming that “disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners”.

In his resignation statement, Josh said: “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply 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. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.” Commentators have noted the emphasis on his life, and a lack of admission that the lives ruined would have been those of the young women he assaulted.

Josh added: “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.” His wife Anna, in the same statement, claimed that she knew about Josh’s “teenage mistakes” before they wed and that she was convinced that his religious belief had redeemed him.


For people who had never pried beyond the Duggar persona presented on TV, the news must have come as a tremendous shock. But for those of us who have been following the family’s ascent over the past few years, it is not completely unexpected. The family is known for their support of Bill Gothard, a hyper-conservative Christian who has advocated for homeschooling, modest dressing and living debt-free. Many of his followers, including the Duggars, belong to the Quiverfull movement, which is based on a Bible verse about God filling “quivers” with “arrows”, interpreted to mean “wombs” and “foetuses”. Each Duggar child who got married – in addition to Josh, Jill and Jessa Duggar both had televised weddings in which they spoke of their “purity”, or virginity – said they would trust God with the size of their family.

Although Gothard’s name was never invoked on-air, his philosophy was everywhere on 19 Kids and Counting. Jim Bob bragged that his family stayed debt-free by living frugally and “buying used and saving the difference”, even though in later years it became clear that the family’s affluence was largely bankrolled by TLC and by the byproducts of their fame, including multiple book deals and paid speaking engagements. The Duggars also attended Gothard-sponsored events around the country like the one in Big Sandy, Texas, where Josh met his wife. Gothard was brought down in a scandal of his very own recently, accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 women. The Duggars may be the world’s best-known Gothardites, but they somehow survived the scandal unscathed and unimplicated.


The Duggar family’s interest in politics has been apparent since day one. In the initial series of annual specials they appeared in before landing their own show, Jim Bob was introduced as an Arkansas state senator. Later, the family campaigned on- and off-air for Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum in their respective presidential bids. In an episode where the family road-tripped to Washington, DC, they met with Michele Bachmann. In older episodes of the show, Josh had expressed an interest in becoming a lawyer and following his father into politics. His connections and fame landed Josh his job at the FRC. Other equivalent jobs in Washington would require at least a college degree, if not significant experience working on political campaigns.

The next few weeks are likely to bring more details about the allegations against Josh. Although he has left his job, his family is rallying around him and are likely to close ranks. But the story has spread well beyond the religious community and reality TV fans into the mainstream – even the Duggars’ beloved Fox News has covered the allegations.


Anna and Josh Duggar at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Anna and Josh Duggar at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Photograph: Kris Connor/Getty Images
TLC, which was running a marathon of 19 Kids & Counting all day on Thursday despite – or because of – the breaking news, will soon have to make a decision about what to do with the series. Last year, when it came to light that “Mama Hune” Shannon, the star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, was dating a convicted paedophile who had previously served a jail term for sexually assaulting Shannon’s eight-year-old relative, the network cancelled the show. On Friday, Shannon threatened to sue TLC over this perceived double standard.

It remains to be seen whether TLC will suspend 19 Kids & Counting or cancel it. The network has recently thrown significant marketing weight behind a show featuring the Bates family, another large Christian family who has been friendly with the Duggars and appeared on 19 Kids. They may have been TLC’s backup plan in case the bloom went off of the Duggar rose.

Whatever TLC decides to do, the Duggar family have the most questions to answer. Did Jim Bob and Michelle willingly cover up their own son’s actions in order to maintain their TV fame? Did they ask their own daughters to keep quiet or to live in a home where abuse was happening? Even if no one presses charges or brings a civil suit, the allegations will not go away, and will bring a very different complexion to the wholesome world of 19 Kids & Counting.

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Re: 19 Kids & Counting tainted by sexual abuse scandal

Post  Freedom on Tue 02 Jun 2015, 6:04 pm

I had managed to avoid hearing of these people until now!
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Re: 19 Kids & Counting tainted by sexual abuse scandal

Post  Mimi on Tue 02 Jun 2015, 6:15 pm

I`m not surprised this occurred in that family and feel a bit sorry for the fellow considering his upbringing - I think anyone would rebel against all that `sugary, fake, right-wing religiosity, and `we`re such a happy family` - it used to give me the creeps. The father`s name is even Jim-Bob - give me strength ! If I`d been brought up like that I`m sure I would have done something to crack the sugary coating.

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Re: 19 Kids & Counting tainted by sexual abuse scandal

Post  Freedom on Tue 02 Jun 2015, 6:20 pm

Yes, I do have some sympathy for Josh.

He didn't ask to be brainwashed from birth.
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