Life

Josh Duggar resigns from anti‑gay hate group amid reports he molested five girls as a teenager

Josh Duggar of TLC's
Josh Duggar speaks at an ant-gay marriage rally in Little Rock.

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The alleged molestations and the Duggar parents’ responses first came to the attention of police in 2006 when the family was scheduled to appear on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, and an email was sent to the show warning them about the allegations.

The email was written by a 61-year-old female who is not identified.

Harpo Studios faxed the letter to the Department of Human Services hotline, leading to the investigation by Springdale police. However, when police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for an interview in 2006, he attempted to hire a lawyer and refused to produce his son for questioning.

The probe soon came to an end because the three-year statute of limitations had expired.

According to In Touch, Jim Bob Duggar, accompanied by some of his church elders, met with Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens in 2003 about the incidents.

Jim Bob Duggar knew Hutchens personally, and the trooper did not take any official action at the time and instead gave Josh a “very stern talk.” Hutchens is now serving a 56-year prison term for child pornography.

Josh Duggar, 27, the oldest of the Duggar children from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” joined the Family Research Council (FRC) in 2013 as Executive Director FRC Action, the organization’s legislative affiliate, where he has actively campaigned against marriage equality and LGBT rights. He is married with three children.

As Right Wing Watch notes, the FRC regularly paints the LGBT community as a precarious threat to children, and Josh Duggar and his family regularly participate in that rhetoric.

Last December, Josh Duggar led a successful campaign to defeat an LGBT nondiscrimination measure in Fayetteville, Ark., which he said jeopardized the safety of children.

Josh’s wife Anna, 26, reaffirmed her support for her husband after the news broke Thursday, telling PEOPLE that he confessed his “past teenage mistakes” two years before he proposed to her.

She stressed that her husband received counseling that “changed his life.”

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In a statement on its website Thursday, FRC president Tony Perkins said 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.”

“Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work,” Perkin’s statement read. “We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved.”

The FRC has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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