HIGH PROFILE: Magazine coverage of Duggar clan includes unearthed police report on sexual molestation allegations.
In Touch magazine reports
that it has obtained a Springdale police report
containing allegations of sexual misconduct in 2002 against an unnamed teen that it says it has confirmed was Josh Duggar,
27, a minor at the time and now a prominent lobbyist for the Family Research Council and a leading voice for legal discrimination against gay people.
The report mentions multiple allegations of fondling of young girls while they slept. From In Touch:
The alleged victims all described a consistent scenario of Josh touching their breasts and genitals and later apologizing. They said Jim Bob [Duggar, Josh's father] was aware of the situation and did not go to authorities for more than a year.
The investigation came in 2006 and was ultimately dropped because the statute of limitations had expired on the alleged events.
The reporting indicates Jim Bob Duggar
had been aware of the allegations and had not reported them to authorities for almost a year. Then, in 2003, he took Josh to see a state trooper who gave Josh a "stern talk" but took no action. That former trooper, incidentally, is now serving a prison sentence for child pornography.
A tipster called the Oprah
TV show before a scheduled Duggar family appearance in 2006 about the allegations and the show promptly reported the allegation to the state child abuse hotline. That put the Springdale investigation in motion and led to interviews that are contained in the In Touch report. It's messy. Jim Bob Duggar resisted cooperation with investigators then, declining to produce his son for a police interview, according to the article.
In Touch had reported on the allegations earlier in the week and they'd been circulating widely on the web. But the appearance today of a police report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, seems likely to expand the attention. The celebrity of the Duggar family through their reality TV show is a double-edged sword. The explosive nature of the allegations could impact the TV show, which glorifies the family life of a couple with 19 children.
The article contains no comments from the Duggars. I've sent a question to Josh Duggar and TLC, which hosts the family show.
TMZ is on the story now, too
. It notes:
As for the Duggars, one of the family members told investigators, "this entire incident had brought the family closer to God" ... this according the police report.
UPDATE: This from a TLC publicist:
No comment. Thanks
ALSO: Here's a link to full police repor
ALSO: Today in circuit court in Fayetteville, Judge Stacy Zimmerman ordered that the police department report be "expunged." So it is no longer available to those requesting it. I'm expecting a copy of that order from the Springdale police to see what might explain the destruction of a police incident report and who asked for that.
Here's the expungement order. It says the report could indirectly identify a minor victim.
AND NOW BREAKING: The Duggars have gone to People magazine
, a friendly promoter of their TV show for a good while (I have no idea if it's a paid relationship), with their response to the burgeoning story. Josh Duggar has resigned from the Family Research Council. Mistakes were made, he admits. He's very sorry.
"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," Josh, 27, tells PEOPLE in a statement. "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."
Josh's wife says she remains supportive. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said that "dark and difficult time" had sent them to seek God as never before.
We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."
No word yet on the TLC TV franchise.