Getty Images; Instagram
by Corinne Heller | Mon., May. 25, 2015 7:58 AM
Getty Images; Instagram
19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar has received words of support from his sister Jessa Duggar's father-in-law, Michael Seewald, amid molestation allegations that have led him to quit his job and a speaking gig and for TLC to pull its hit family reality show from its schedule.
In a 2,160-word post titled, "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" posted on his family's blog, Michael, 40, father of Ben Seewald, 19, and six other children, wrote that "the Seewald family stands with the Duggar family in solidarity" and "stand with the unnamed victims of these incidents. Our thoughts and prayers are for you."
Josh, 27, had himself issued an apology, without addressing specific accusations, following an In Touch article that stated that he allegedly molested five underage girls when he was a teenager. No charges were brought against him. The story contained a scan of a 2006 Arkansas police report, which the department has since destroyed under court order.
Michael, whose family, like the Duggars, are devout Christians, said Josh "sinned because like all of us he is a sinner."
"I want to say to Josh, hang in there, the shame you feel is legitimate, yet Jesus took your shame as he was punished in your place," he said. "Rest in his forgiveness and grace. Remember that he gives you his righteousness as a covering for your shame."
The scandal and subsequent backlash has hurt Josh's career. Last week, it was announced that he has resigned from his job at the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbying group based in Washington D.C., and canceled a speaking engagement at a Christian home-school convention in Sandusky, Ohio.
TLC has meanwhile pulled episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, which ended its 10th season two days before the In Touch report was also broadcast in reruns on weekdays. Social media has been flooded with messages about the scandal.
In his essay, Michael said he felt "compelled to bring some context and reason to the bloodletting that many are engaging in and to come to the aid of our dear friends and family."
"Don't be angry at the world for their hatred of you," Michael wrote to Josh. "Show them through your love for them that it is Jesus Christ that made all the difference in your life. I'm rooting for you."
The alleged incidents took place in 2002 and 2003. No charges were brought against Josh.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," Josh had said in a statement following the In Touch report. "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," he said. "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."
Michael wrote on his family's blog that he believes Josh's father and mother, Jim Bob Duggar, 39, and Michelle Duggar, 48, "acted in a way that godly parents should."
"They did not turn a blind eye, but earnestly sought help from the church, counselors, and eventually the police," he said. "Maybe they didn't do it in a way that pleases everyone, but they acted decisively to confront the sin, to call a penitent son back from his errors, and to seek to aid the hurting victims."
"In their efforts to salvage the wreckage that these transgressions brought, and bring healing to all involved, Jim Bob and Michelle are to be commended," he said.
Josh's parents and wife Anna Duggar, 26, who is pregnant with his fourth child, a baby girl, also issued statements in wake of the scandal. Ben and Jessa, 22, who is pregnant with the couple's first child, and Josh's other siblings have not commented about the molestation allegations.
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