Family ties really do bind.
A recently unearthed police report filed in Arkansas states that 19 Kids and Counting patriarch Jim Bob Duggar and wife Michelle brought their eldest son, Josh Duggar, in to the Children's Safety Center in Springdale, Ark., in 2006 to be interviewed in response to an accusation that he had sexually abused underage girls in 2002 and 2003.
The report, first obtained by In Touch magazine, stated that a tip had been phoned in to the Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline. The police report has since been expunged to protect the identity of a minor child who was alleged to be the victim of a sex crime, according to a copy of the court order filed today and obtained by E! News.
But now, the family has spoken.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," now 27-year-old Josh Duggar, who is expecting his fourth child with wife Anna Duggar, said Thursday in a statement to People.
"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. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."
The 2006 police report states that "the parents" said the accused had "admit[ted] to fondling" the named victims three and a half years prior and "the father said that he went to a state trooper and reported this, but no report was ever filed." The report further states that Jim Bob and Michelle said at the time that "they were both comfortable that nothing had occurred since [name blacked out] went through the program in Little Rock," referring to a counseling program at Vista Hospital that Josh was in from March 17, 2003, until July 17, 2003.
"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," Jim Bob and Michelle also stated to People. "When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us—even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey—the good times and the difficult times—cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."
Anna, meanwhile, revealed that Josh confessed his "past teenage mistakes" to her when they were still courting, two years before he proposed.
"I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock," she told People. "When my family and I first visited the Duggar home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was—even every difficult past mistakes."
Anna added, "He continued to do what he was taught. [I know] who Josh really is—someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right."
Josh stepped down from his post at the Family Research Council, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, after the allegations were brought to light. FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement Thursday:
"Today Josh 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. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved."