In 2015, it was revealed that Josh Duggar, the eldest Duggar child, had molested five girls in 2002, when he was 14 years old. It came out that he fondled the breasts and genitals of the girls, four of whom were his sisters.
Josh released a statement regarding the situation, apologizing for his actions, but at the same time implicating his parents as well.
"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," the father of four said. "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. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. 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."
The information released by the Arkansas Police Department revealed that Josh molested his sisters Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna. There was also a fifth girl who was not named.
“My parents … I can see looking back [that] my parents handled this very well,” Jessa told Fox News. “They sent Josh away. They had him get help. When he came back he was a totally different person. He was repentant whenever he left. When he came back, I could see he had made life changes.”
“I was angry at first, I was like, How could this happen?’ ” Jill recalled. “And then, you know, my parents explained to us what happened and then Josh came and asked each of us, individually – I know he asked me to forgive him. And I had to make that choice to forgive him, you know? It wasn’t something that somebody forced, like, ‘Oh, you need to do this.’ You have to make that decision for yourself.”
After the reports were confirmed, TLC cancelled its incredibly popular series, 19 Kids and Counting.
"After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. The show will no longer appear on the air," the network said in an official statement, noting that "the recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."
But that wasn't the end of controversy for Josh Duggar.
Ashley Madison Scandal
Just four months after the reports of his molestation surfaced, it was revealed that Josh Duggar was also unfaithful to his wife through the Ashley Madison website, and that he was experimenting with 'one-night stands and sex toys.'
"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever," Duggar released in a statement. "While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him. I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time."
Josh Duggar went to sex rehab, and stayed out of the limelight since both scandals broke. The family did their best to stand by their eldest son, but it became difficult. The sisters got their own show, called Counting On, and Josh was nowhere to be found.
Many people were worried about Anna Duggar, Josh's wife, wondering if she was trapped in a marriage she couldn't get out of. However, just months ago, Anna gave birth to the couple's 5th child.
“We are so thankful and happy to announce the arrival of our new son, Mason Garrett Duggar. Both he and Anna are doing well. He arrived today without complication and we already adore him. The entire family is ecstatic over the arrival of another beautiful blessing. We want to thank everyone for your prayers, kind words and well wishes. We appreciate it much more than we could ever express. We pray God blesses each of you with an abundance of the kindness you’ve shown us.”
Although it may seem like time heals all wounds, the Duggar sisters don't agree, and their new lawsuit definitely proves that.
Two years after their molestation was exposed, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna filed a lawsuit against Springdale, Ark., Washington County, Ark. county and police officials, as well as In Touch publishers. The sisters claimed their privacy was breached, especially since they were minors at the time of the crimes.
"This case is solely about protecting children who are victims of abuse," the sisters said in a statement. "Revealing juvenile identities under these circumstances is unacceptable, and it's against the law. The media and custodians of public records who let these children down must be held accountable. This case has vast implications for all our children. We hope that by bringing this case to the public's attention, all children will be protected from reckless reporting."
The released documents were obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, which the sisters claim violated state law about protecting children who are victims of sexual abuse.
"It's despicable what happened here. There's no greater violation of a young person than to tell the world about their sexual assault," said Steven Bledsoe, an attorney for the girls. "Any details about the sexual assault of a minor are not subject to disclosure" under the state's Freedom of Information Act.
The attorney for Springdale, Arkansas says the information was released to a lawyer who requested it, and there was no indication that it would be released to the public.
The sisters are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial.
Stay Away, Josh!
In June, Josh Duggar attempted to join the Duggar sisters in their lawsuit, presumably because he felt his privacy was also invaded.
However, in court documents obtained by E! News, the sisters don't want this to happen, and they've asked a judge to stop it.
"Deciding claims based on protecting victims of sex crimes from disclosure, while at the same time, having those claims consolidated with the perpetrator of those crimes will be confusing to the jury," the documents state. "It would be next to impossible for a jury to ignore the perpetrator sitting next to the victims, yet decide the different issues, different claims and different damages that apply for victims as compared to perpetrator. Consolidation would undoubtedly give the false impression that the victims and the perpetrator are 'in this together.'...Forcing the victims to join their claims with their perpetrator's claims would further traumatize the very victims Arkansas law is designed to protect."
Do you think Josh should be allowed to join their lawsuit, and do you think the sisters have a case against the state?