Jinger Duggar Recounts “Living in a Nightmare” During Josh Duggar’s Molestation Scandal

Jinger Duggar revealed how her family grappled with her brother, Josh Duggar's, public molestation accusations in 2015. As she wrote in her new book, "I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded."

By Lindsay Weinberg May 05, 2021 10:14 PMTags
Watch: Josh Duggar Pleads Not Guilty to Child Pornography Charges

Jinger Duggar Vuolo is revealing what went down in the Duggar family six years ago, when an expunged police report accused her brother Josh Duggar of molesting five underage girls as a teen. Jinger, now 27, reflected on how her life became a "bad dream" as their family's scandal made national headlines.

She and husband Jeremy Vuolo are telling all in their new book The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God, which was published on Tuesday, May 4. Just days prior, Josh pled not guilty in federal court after being charged with child pornography crimes that allegedly occurred in 2019.

While not naming Josh directly, the former 19 Kids and Counting star wrote in her new book, "One of my siblings had made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family."

In 2015, an unearthed police report from 2006 revealed that Josh allegedly molested five girls, but he was never charged with any crimes. During an interview with Fox's Megyn Kelly, his parents said four of the girls were his sisters, and Jessa and Jill Duggar came forward as two of the victims. Josh said in a statement, "I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry." 

In The Hope We Hold, Jinger gave an inside look at what happened after the allegations against Josh came to light in 2015. 

"Earlier that day, Dad had gathered my siblings and me to tell us that the worst trial in our family history, a trial we had long since dealt with and made our peace with, was now public knowledge," she wrote. "Intimate details about our lives were splashed across a magazine page and all over the Internet for anyone and everyone to read. I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded."

Duggar Family Instagram Pics

Jinger, who has since relocated from Arkansas to Los Angeles, said she was "living in a nightmare that I wished with all my heart wasn't real."

She said they all "took the necessary steps to move toward healing, and offered up our forgiveness," adding, "Now that it was out in public, the old wound was open again, raw, painful."

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images/Kris Connor/Getty Images

Jinger recalled how her famous family decided to leave their home, because paparazzi were camped outside. "We were trapped in our own house," she explained. "Mom and Dad told all of us to pack a few changes of clothes and load up the family bus. We were getting away for a few days until this all died down, they said, to a place with plenty of land to run around outside without anyone seeing us. It would be the perfect place to escape the cameras without being cooped up inside for the foreseeable future." 

She said her father, Jim Bob Duggar, drove the bus up to their house, with the vehicle's door facing the building so that the paparazzi couldn't see them loading up to leave.

"By the time we left, the photographers were asleep, and nobody noticed when the bus pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road in the dark of night," she recounted of their escape.

Jinger went on, "I leaned my head back into the seat and closed my eyes. The bus engine rumbled and my brothers and sisters chattered noisily, but I barely noticed. My mind raced with questions I couldn't answer. How do we go forward? I thought." 

Worthy Books

She then explained why she didn't want the claims against Josh to be made public, saying, "People outside my close circle now knew details about my life that I had never chosen to share. Details that I had never wanted to share. And there would be fallout. That goes without saying when you lead a public life." She added, "I just didn't know how far it would go. What would happen to us? How in the world would we get through this?"

Jinger didn't self-identify as one of Josh's victims during the Fox News special in 2015, but she was a part of a lawsuit two years later along with sisters Jill, Jessa and Joy Duggar. In 2017, the four siblings sued the city of Springdale, Ark., over the leaked police documents that led to the public scandal, per TMZ.

Speaking with Megyn in 2015, Jim Bob said Josh admitted he had "improperly touched some of our daughters." As Jim Bob put it, "He was just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping."

In the past week, Josh, now 33, was arrested and charged for his alleged child pornography possession. The TLC star's legal reps requested for him to be released on bail on May 4, so that he could "return home to his immediate family during the pendency of this case." His wife, Anna Duggar, is pregnant with their seventh child.

However, during his virtual hearing on April 30, the judge said Josh is not allowed to live in the same home as his children. He is dad to Mackenzie, 11; Michael, 9; Marcus, 7; Meredith, 5; Mason, 3; and Maryella, 17 months.

"We intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly," Josh's lawyer told E! News in a statement last week. "In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you're accused, you can fight back in the courtroom—and that is exactly what Josh intends to do."

Click here to see what his siblings have said since his arrest.