Son in Duggar TV family apologizes after molestation allegations

Fri May 22, 2015 2:25pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A son in the large, Christian family featured in reality television show "19 Kids and Counting" issued an apology and quit his job on Thursday after reports that he molested underage girls when he was a teenager.

Josh Duggar, 27, is the eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose long-running show on cable network TLC chronicles the daily struggles and triumphs of a conservative family in Arkansas.

Josh Duggar did not directly address the allegations that were reported by In Touch magazine and other websites, but said in a statement that he felt remorse for what he called "wrongdoing."

"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," said the statement published to the Duggar Family Facebook page.

Duggar resigned from his job at the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbying group based in Washington D.C., according to a statement from the organization's president, Tony Perkins.

"Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years," Perkins said. A Duggar family representative did not respond to requests for comment.

The apology came after In Touch published a document it said it obtained from Arkansas’ Springdale Police Department alleging multiple instances in which Duggar molested underage girls.

The police department said it could not comment and Reuters could not independently verify the document's authenticity. In Touch reported that charges were never filed against Josh Duggar. Duggar's wife, Anna Duggar, said her husband shared his "past teenage mistakes" with her before they married six years ago. The couple have three children and are expecting a fourth, according to their personal website.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)

Josh Duggar, Executive Director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Brian Frank