Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to Sit Down With Megyn Kelly to Discuss …

1 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amid molestation allegations, Duggar family announces exclusive interview with Fox News.

When I learned that, more than a decade ago, reality-TV star Josh Duggar avoided jail after his parents dealt with molestation charges via church and family contacts, it made me think about the men I interviewed for my book about our draconian sex-offender laws.Fox News news pundit Megyn Kelly has snagged the first interview with 19 Kids and Counting stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose son Josh admitted to acting “inexcusably” after a report surfaced that he molested five underage girls when he was 14.

Santorum’s response contrasts dramatically with that of another 2016 contender, Mike Huckabee, who enjoyed the Duggars’ support in his 2008 bid but didn’t run in 2012. As a 14-year-old back in about 2002, Duggar fondled at least five girls in his family home — and his parents decided against taking him to the public authorities. After the news broke (and Josh Duggar apologized) two weeks ago, Huckabee posted a message on Facebook to “affirm” his support of the Duggars. “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” he wrote, calling Josh Duggar’s response a “testament to his family’s authenticity and humility.” Why the divergence in opinion? In a separate press release, Fox News confirmed the sit-down interview, which is scheduled to air during “The Kelly File” on Wednesday, June 3, at 9 p.m.

The case reminded me of Josh Gravens — who, like Josh Duggar, was from a conservative Christian homeschooling family, with parents who turned to their church after learning their 13-year-old inappropriately touched his younger sisters. Several candidates had sought the famous family’s favor, as evidenced by the photos (mostly from Josh Duggar’s Twitter stream) of Duggar with Huckabee, Santorum, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker. The duo released this statement on Michelle’s blog: “Next week we will sit down with Megyn Kelly on Fox News to share our hearts with you about the pain that we walked through as a family twelve years ago, the tears we all shed and the forgiveness that was given. I don’t join in the Schadenfreude on the left over the latest case of hypocrisy among family-values conservatives, or take any delight in the discovery that the Duggars, who find immorality in homosexuality, abortion and out-of-wedlock sex, have more disturbing questions of morality in their own home. We appreciate the outpouring of love and prayers for our family at this time.” Reruns of 19 Kids were pulled from TLC last week after a magazine revealed sexual molestation allegations against the Duggar’s eldest son Josh, now 27.

As a researcher trying to understand widespread and exaggerated fears of sex offenders, I have a different perspective than those enraged at the Duggars for not turning to law enforcement or therapists (many counselors are mandated reporters, like the Christian counselor who reported Gravens to police). The now-married man, with a fourth child on the way, released a statement to PEOPLE that said, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. The political issue is not what Josh Duggar did as a teenager but why so many who seek the nation’s highest office feel the need to woo people who are so far out on the ideological extreme. Duggar, his wife, Anna, and their three children live in Washington, where Duggar worked as executive director of FRC Action, the nonprofit lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. The family has often been associated with, and claimed by, the Quiverfull movement, a Christian patriarchy sect proposing that women must obey and submit sexually to their husbands and should eschew birth control and embrace their “high calling” as wives, mothers and homemakers.

Yet the registry treats all offenders as permanent threats to young children, regardless of the victim’s age or the perpetrator’s potential for rehabilitation. Offenders also become constant targets for public vitriol; since the incident, Duggar has been called a serial sexual predator, a pedophile and a child rapist.

The answer seems to be that they are so eager to associate themselves with famous conservatives that they don’t pause to examine the beliefs of their would-be endorsers. The embrace of other bizarre figures in the conservative movement has caused heartburn similar to the Josh Duggar scandal for GOP officeholders — such as when Ted Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” and when antigovernment Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy expressed racist sentiments. The overwhelming majority of Christian conservatives are upstanding Americans and are neither racist nor believers in exotic notions of patriarchy and fertility. Merely debating whether people should be allowed to move on after being punished for a sex offense is often now viewed as evidence that one doesn’t care about protecting children or victims. Extraordinarily harsh policies discourage families dealing with sex abuse from seeking help — hurting the very children these rules are intended to help.

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