LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two female stars of TLC’s reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” told Fox News that they had forgiven their brother Josh Duggar for molesting them in the past, saying he was “a little too curious about girls.”
In excerpts released by the news outlet on Friday ahead of an interview airing late in the day, Jill Dillard, 24, and Jessa Seewald, 22, said they weren’t initially aware of inappropriate advances around twelve years ago from their then-teenaged brother.
They said they only found out about the molestation, which took place while they were asleep, when he told their parents.
Dillard and Seewald, both now married, said they were angry at their brother initially, but “were sad” when he was sent away to attend a Christian-based treatment course for his actions.
“It wasn’t like we were keeping a secret afraid or something. We didn’t know until Josh explained to my parents what his thought process was,” Dillard told “The Kelly File” host Megyn Kelly.
TLC, owned by Discovery Communications, did not respond for comment on Thursday on the future of the show.
Last month, the network pulled all episodes of “19 Kids,” its top-rated show, after reports surfaced that Josh Duggar, now 27, had molested underage girls. He has never been arrested or charged.
Dillard and Seewald said their parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had instilled “safeguards” in the family home following the incidents that included locks on bedroom doors. Dillard said her parents did “an amazing job for me.”
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar came under fire this week for downplaying their son’s abuse of four of his sisters including a girl who was under 10 at the time, in a Fox News interview that aired Wednesday.
Michelle Duggar said they were victims of a tabloid leak that dredged up long-forgiven offenses committed by their son.
Josh Duggar released a statement last month apologizing for acting “inexcusably” 12 years ago. He also resigned from his job at the Christian lobbying group Family Research Council.
Seewald and Dillard defended their brother and family for preaching their conservative Christian values while masking Josh Duggar’s molestation, which some have called hypocritical.
“It’s right to say ‘here’s what I believe, here’s my values,’ even if you’ve made stupid mistakes or failures,” Seewald said.
“I think the real issue is people are making this sound like it happened yesterday.”
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Christian Plumb