“I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded.”
While Josh Duggar is in the news right now for pleading not guilty to child porn charges, his sister Jinger Duggar is opening up about another scandal from his past in her new book.
In 2015, it was reported Josh had molested five girls — including four of his sisters and a family friend — when he was a teenager, from 2002-2003. In her new book with husband Jeremy Vuolo, “The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God,” Jinger revealed what it was like for her and her family to have the story thrust into the spotlight years after they had dealt with it privately.
“My brain hadn’t quite caught up to the reality of what had happened in a few short hours. Earlier that day, Dad had gathered my siblings and me to tell us that the worst trial in our family history, a trial we had long since dealt with and made our peace with, was now public knowledge,” says Jinger. “Intimate details about our lives were splashed across a magazine page and all over the Internet for anyone and everyone to read. I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded.”
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She said she “moved in a daze” at the time and compared her life to “living in a nightmare that I wished with all my heart wasn’t real.”
Of Josh’s behavior, she said he had made “some sinful choices” that, while “awful,” had already been “dealt with” as a family. She said that the family as a whole “sought the Lord” and “took the necessary steps to move toward healing and offered up our forgiveness” — but the scandal hitting the press meant “the old wound was open again, raw, painful.”
With paparazzi outside their home, the family decided to pack up their bus and hide out at a friend’s property. Said Jeremy of his wife, “Here was a woman in one of the greatest trials of her life, and she wasn’t crushed or unraveled. She was sweet, gracious, and hopeful. It was obvious that her confidence was still in Christ.”
“19 and Counting” was canceled by TLC after the molestation accusations, which Josh admitted to, came to light. He also resigned from his post at the Family Research Council and released a statement at the time.
“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,” he 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.”
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Just last week, Josh plead not guilty to charges related to the possession of material which “depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.”
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in a statement on their family website. “The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”
Jinger also took to Instagram to write, “We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh. While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice.”
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