Duggar Parents Call Josh's Actions 'Child Preying on Child,' Aggressively Defend Son: 'This Was Not Rape or Anything Like That'

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of the TLC reality TV series '19 Kids and Counting,' speak at the Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, Friday, September 26, 2014.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of the TLC reality TV series "19 Kids and Counting," speak at the Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, Friday, September 26, 2014. | (Photo: FRC/Carrie Russell)

In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar defended their son Josh's molestation of four daughters and one babysitter, declaring, "This was not rape or anything like that."

"There were a couple of instances where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds. And then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened," Jim Bob explained.

One of the sisters Josh inappropriately touched was believed to be 5 years old at the time, according to the police report that was illegally released.

During the interview, Jim Bob and Michelle stayed away from the word molestation. When asked by Megyn Kelly if Josh was a child molester, the Duggars denied that allegation.

"He was still a kid. He was a child preying on a child," Jim Bob asserted, noting that Josh was 14 and 15 during the time of the incidents at the Duggar home.

Michelle said that when they learned about Josh's behavior, "There was so much grief in our hearts."

"I think, as parents, we felt we we're failures," she added.

Jim Bob answered Megyn's questions about the timeline of the incidents within the household. Initially, they sought to deal with Josh's behavior within the family and pointed out that, as parents, they weren't mandatory reporters of Josh's actions to law enforcement.

When Josh came crying to them after a third confession, that is when Jim Bob admitted: "We felt we had to get help."

Josh was subsequently sent to a counselor in Little Rock, Arkansas, and that is when his father said he witnessed a "turning point in his life."

When Josh returned home from Little Rock, Jim Bob then took his son to the nearest police department so he could confess his criminal actions to an Arkansas State Trooper, and his four sisters were taken by their parents to the state's Children's Safety Center.

"We felt it was an important step for Josh to confess to the police," he said.

Although the officer Josh confessed to is now serving a 56 year sentence on child pornography charges, Jim Bob emphasized that he and Michelle "had no idea that the officer was involved in anything wrong."

In a question from Kelly about whether they were facing a more severe backlash because of their very public Christian faith, the Duggars did not respond directly but said, "I think, you know what, Christianity is not about being perfect or about being a perfect family, but it's actually about being forgiven."

"People on the outside think, 'Well, Christians are supposed to be perfect,'" Jim Bob asserted. "No, you know what, all of us, as Christians, we struggle every day."

"Looking back, we did the best we could under the circumstances," he continued.

When asked about whether they, as parents, thought about these incidents before they agreed to do a reality show, Jim Bob responded: "We had nothing to hide."

Since Josh was a minor at the time of the molestations, the Duggars are seeking legal counsel about the leaked police report.

"19 Kids and Counting" has been pulled from the air by TLC. General Mills, Payless, and Walgreens are just a few of the companies that have said they plan to remove their ads from the popular reality TV show.

In a Friday Fox News exclusive, Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, two of the Duggar daughters, will tell their side of the story to Kelly. Both women have forgiven their brother for his actions.

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