Earlier this week, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar broke their silence regarding son Josh Duggar's molestation controversy. Now, Jessa Duggar and Jill Duggar, two of their brother's victims, are telling their story.
In a preview of tonight's Fox News Channel interview on The Kelly File (airing 9 p.m.), the sisters defend Josh's actions.
"Well, I think in the case of what Josh did, it was very wrong," Jessa said. "I'm not going to justify anything that he did or say it was ok, not permissible, but I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying. I'm like that is so overboard and a lie really, I mean people get mad at me for saying that but I can say this because I was one of the victims. So I can speak out and I can say this and set the record straight here. Like in Josh's case, he was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls. And that got him into to some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but really the extent of it was mild, inappropriate touching, on fully clothed victims, most of it while girls were sleeping."
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"We didn't even know about it until he went and confessed it to my parents," Jill explained.
"No, none of the victims were aware of what happened until Joshua confessed," Jessa went on. "My parents took aside individually, and they said here's what's happened and of course at that point, you're like, oh, you're shocked, you know."
"I was scared," Jill added. "I [was] sad because this is my older brother, who I love a lot, and so it's like, conflicting there."
After learning of Josh's indiscretions, Jill and Jessa said it was hard to move on as a family. "I was angry at first, I was like, how could this happen?" Jill explained. "And then, you know, my parents explained to us what happened and then Josh came and asked each of us, individually I know, he asked me to forgive him. And I had to make that choice to forgive him, you know. And it wasn't something that somebody forced like, Oh you need to do this. It's like, you have to make that decision for yourself."
Jill went on, "My dad explained to us, he said, ‘You know there's a difference between forgiveness and trust. That's not the same thing.' You know, you forgive someone and then you have boundaries. Forgiveness with boundaries. And so trust comes later. You know Josh destroyed that trust at the beginning. And so he had to rebuild that."
Jill admitted that she and Jessa were "sad" when Josh was sent away to receive treatment regarding his actions. "But at the same time it was burned in our memory—Josh made some very bad decisions and he is going to suffer the consequences of those decisions," she said.
When Josh returned, Michelle and Jim Bob implemented safeguards to insure no future indiscretions. "Not being alone. My parents said ok, we're not going to do this hide and seek thing where two people go off and hide together," Jill said. "Locks on the doors. You know, everybody's in bed. Girls in the girl's room. Boys in the boy's room."
As for how the 19 Kids and Counting stars respond to critics who call the conservative family hypocritical given the recently revealed molestation controversy, Jill said, "I've heard them say you know ‘you're hypocrites,' well if you go back and look at everything people that have seen in our lives, in television you know, we've never claimed to be a perfect family. My parents have always actually stated, you know, we are not a perfect family. We are just a family."
Jessa added, "With challenges and struggles just like anybody else."
In other Duggar news, the City Attorney of Springdale, AR posted an announcement on their website defending the release of legal documents that named Josh in connection with the past molestations.