As viewers watched 19 Kids and Counting on TV year after year, they came to know many of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's children. From the oldest son, Josh Duggar, down through Jill and Jessa Duggar to the newest members of what began as the 17 Kids and Counting clan, the episodes showed their conservative religious views and family guidelines on everything from courting (introducing the side hug and chaperoned dates) to modest dress.
But patriarch Jim Bob and Michelle also became known for their political views, including topics such as gay marriage. And thus, when the news broke that their son Josh, married to Anna Duggar, had molested five underage girls when he was a teenager, many called them hypocrites for condemning others while hiding their own family's dark secret.
But what really happened during Josh's teenage years and why? And did his now-wife Anna know the molestation details?
The timeline of the 19 Kids and Counting oldest son's molestation has gradually emerged, reported Entertainment Tonight.
The news broke in May that Michelle and Jim Bob's oldest son had been accused of child molestation when he was 14-years-old. The allegations encompass what is described as "inappropriate" touching of five underage girls.
After the reports surfaced, the 27-year-old used Facebook to apologize to Jim Bob and Michelle, his family, and his friends.
"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. 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."
The timeline of the molestation scandal begins in 2002, when an underage girl told Jim Bob that Josh had touched her body parts while she was asleep several times. Josh confessed and reportedly was punished by Michelle and Jim Bob. In 2003, some other underage girls shared the same accusations, but this time they said that the 19 Kids clan's oldest son had committed those acts while they were awake as well as asleep.
On that occasion, Jim Bob consulted with church elders. However, the 19 Kids patriarch waited until 2006 to inform police.
Prior to notifying authorities, Jim Bob and Michelle reportedly sent Josh to a Christian program that included counseling as well as work. However, a different version has surfaced in which Michelle revealed that her son did not get counseling and went to visit a friend of the family. In addition, he received a lecture from Joseph Hutchens, a friend of the family who was then an Arkansas State Trooper. No action was taken, and that former official is now in jail after a conviction for child pornography.
Both Michelle and Jim Bob informed police that their son had apologized and been forgiven by the girls he molested.
But when 19 Kids and Counting became a ratings runway on TV, none of the molestation scandal stories were known among the public. The oldest son married Anna Keller.
Anna subsequently revealed that her husband shared what she referred to as "past teenage mistakes" during the courtship phase. Her parents were also aware of the situation.With many wondering whether Anna will now divorce her husband following the molestation scandal followed by the Ashley Madison and porn addiction confessions, she was raised by parents who are against divorce and are similar to Michelle and Jim Bob in their religious beliefs, reported People.
"I don't think her parents ever thought they would ever come to a situation like this," noted a source. "They always taught their kids that divorce was never an option. They never even thought about cheating."
But Anna's brother Daniel is heading up the group of her siblings trying to persuade his sister to divorce, reported Extra.
Joined by some of Anna's other brothers and sisters, Daniel is considering holding a divorce intervention to help Anna understand their worries about her situation in Duggarville.As the Inquisitr reported, Michelle and Jim Bob have been linked to the Quiverfull lifestyle.
Anna reportedly is angry about a blog that Michelle wrote about the responsibilities of wives in marriage. In that blog, Michelle seemed to imply Anna is to blame for her son's recent scandals, which include cheating using the Ashley Madison site for infidelity and porn addiction.
The Quiverfull value system views men as being unable to control themselves if (a) a woman refuses to have intimate relationships with her husband, or (b) a woman wears revealing attire. And Michelle's latest family blog seems to follow those tenets, implying that Anna is at fault rather than her son.But the Quiverfull lifestyle may have failed Michelle and Jim Bob. The 19 Kids matriarch and patriarch have gone to a marriage retreat for help, according to Radar Online.
Married for 30 years, Jim Bob and Michelle shared the news on Facebook that they had made the decision to go to the retreat, which lasted from Friday to Sunday.
"Team building activities [and] rekindling, reviving and renewing [relationships]," promised the retreat.
The leader of the retreat is Dr. S.M. Davis, a pastor who focuses on Bible-based answers to "critical family problems."
[Image via Duggar Family Facebook]