Josh Duggar "Inappropriately Touched" Girl While Reading Her Bible Stories, Family Friend Testifies

In a hearing ahead of Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial, family friend Bobye Holt and Josh’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, both testified in front of an Arkansas judge.

By Mike Vulpo Dec 01, 2021 12:09 AMTags
Watch: Josh Duggar's Hearing Reveals Graphic New Allegations in Court

Content warning: This story discusses sexual assault and child pornography.

One of the Duggar's family friends testified in court about Josh Duggar's past molestation allegations.

Friend Bobye Holt told a judge that Josh allegedly "digitally penetrated" a girl in 2003, when he was 15 years old, according to prosecutors' supplemental brief filed on Nov. 30 and obtained by E! News. Prosecutors described Bobye as "a long-time family friend of the defendant and the mother of the girl he was dating when he molested Jane Does 1 through 4."

On Monday, Nov. 29, Josh's father, Jim Bob Duggar, and Bobye took the stand during an evidentiary hearing to determine whether they could testify in front of a jury during his child pornography trial.

Josh is currently facing one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ahead of jury selection, Bobye testified about a day in March 2003 when she said Josh admitted to inappropriate conduct, according to the brief that summarized portions of testimony from the previous day.

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Josh allegedly told Bobye on March 30, 2003 "that he had inappropriately touched the vagina of Jane Doe 4 that day and had been touching the breasts and vaginal areas of Jane Does 1 through 3, both over and under their clothes for years," per the brief.

The court documents stated that Josh told Bobye this because "he was courting her daughter and that their relationship would have to end as a result of his conduct."

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Bobye testified that Josh again spoke to her about it in 2005, when he was staying with her and her husband in Little Rock, Ark.

"The defendant told her that he had digitally penetrated Jane Doe 4's vagina while she sat on his lap and he read her bible stories," prosecutors wrote. "This rape occurred on March 30, 2003 and is what prompted the Duggars to contact the Holts that day."

Josh and his legal team are asking the court to adopt an interpretation of the clergy-penitent privilege, saying Josh's statements were made in the context of "spiritual counseling" with Bobye. 

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In a court briefing obtained by E! News, the defense pointed out that Bobye testified that her family, including husband Jim Holt, invited Josh to stay at their home two years after their 2003 meeting.

"Bobye testified that Jim regularly counseled Duggar during those two intervening years," the defense said. "She said she still wanted to help him. She testified that she and Jim met with Duggar in their bedroom to discuss matters further. Bobye testified that during the meeting Jim actively participated but, eventually, fell asleep—she continued to talk to Duggar as her husband slept."

According to court documents, the defense argued that the testimony presented by Bobye at the evidentiary hearing reveals that any statements made to her and Jim by Josh were made in their "capacity as spiritual advisors with the expectation that the communications would be kept confidential."

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As such, Josh's legal team requested that the government prohibits eliciting any further testimony from Bobye.

Prosecutors, however, wrote in their supplemental brief that while Bobye recalled saying prayers during her conversation with the Duggars, "Mrs. Holt emphasized that the conversation was not related to anyone's role in the church that the Holts and Duggars attended."

In 2015, In Touch published a police report from 2006 that alleged a then-teenager Josh had inappropriately touched five underage girls while they slept. The alleged victims included four of his sisters, including Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar. Their parents told Fox News that Josh, their eldest child, had admitted to inappropriately touching his sisters while they slept. He was never charged.

Josh later said in a statement that he had acted "inexcusably" and said his parents "arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling." 

When asked about the police report during his testimony on Nov. 29, Jim Bob said "I can't remember" and called it "tabloid information," according to People.

The judge has yet to make a ruling on whether Jim Bob or Bobye will be allowed to testify during the trial. E! News has reached out to the Duggar family, Josh's attorneys, prosecutors and the court for comment but has not heard back.

For free, confidential help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit