TLC's Duggars defends son after he molested his sisters

Wed Jun 3, 2015 11:02pm EDT
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By Daina Beth Solomon and Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents on the TLC reality show "19 Kids and Counting," defended their son Josh in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday as they addressed his molestation of young girls, including his sisters, as a teenager.

The Duggars said Josh Duggar, 27, had told them 12 years ago he had inappropriately touched his younger sisters while they slept. They said there were incidents with five different girls.

"He said he was just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes when they were sleeping. They hadn't even known he had done it," Jim Bob Duggar told "The Kelly File" host Megyn Kelly.

TLC, which is owned by Discovery Communications (DISCA.O: Quote), pulled all episodes of "19 Kids," its top-rated show, last month after reports surfaced that Josh Duggar had molested underage girls. He has never been arrested or charged.

As of Wednesday, TLC had no comment on the future of the show. At least a dozen advertisers, including food company General Mills Inc (GIS.N: Quote) and retailer Walgreen Co WALG34.SA, have pulled out.

Jim Bob Duggar said "we're fine whether they continue to film us or no."

The conservative Arkansas-based Duggars have chronicled their struggles and triumphs since 2008 in "19 Kids," and are known for their Christian family values.

In an emotional interview, the parents said they were "devastated" and felt like "failures" regarding their son's actions and said they tried to protect their girls with "boundaries and safeguards."   Continued...

Jim Bob Duggar (L) and his wife Michelle Duggar (R) in Columbia, South Carolina, on the steps of the State House in this file photo from January 14, 2012.  REUTERS/Chris Keane/Files