Michelle Duggar has apparently claimed that her four daughter were "victimized more" by the illegally released police reports of the molestation carried out by eldest son Josh, who was a teenager at the time, than the actual molestation incidents themselves.
"They have been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks. And they weren't told years ago because they honestly — they didn't even understand or know that anything had happened until after the fact when they were told about it," Duggar told Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday night in an interview that will be released in additional portions on Friday night, according to People magazine.
Josh Duggar, now 27, resigned from his position at the Family Research Council, a conservative organization based in Washington D.C., following the release of the police reports that detailed how he molested five underage girls as a teen.
His mother told Kelly that the reports should not have been released like that.
"I think what's so devastating as a mom, for me, is, we took our children to the Children's Safety Center. We trusted them. We trusted the police department. Our children poured out their hearts. They shared everything. And then to have their trust betrayed?" Duggar said, referring to the Center in Springdale, Arkansas, where her four daughters spoke to authorities in 2006 about the abuse.
"For all of their information and everything to be turned over to a tabloid … for those things to be twisted and shared in a slanderous way — story after story, tabloid after tabloid," she added, saying that "as a mom, that breaks my heart for my girls."
Duggar said she believes God will use the scandal for good.
"In our hearts before God, we haven't been keeping secrets. We have been protecting those that honestly should be protected. And now what's happened is that they have been victimized by people with an agenda, and for whatever profit they think they are going to get," the "19 Kids and Counting" reality star said.
Jim Bob Duggar, the father, added that his family is trying to regroup from the events, and said that the media should be targeting the illegal release of the juvenile records.
"This information was released illegally. I wonder why all of this press is not going after the system for releasing juvenile records. That is a huge story," he said.
"Now what our son did 12 years ago, I'm sure that's a major story to them too. But yet, hopefully justice will be served on the ones who released juvenile records to protect other juveniles from having their records released."
The scandal has prompted a wide-range of opinions among both Christian and secular circles.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a response article in May that Christians can not ignore the case.
"I'm not interested in litigating the specifics of this case — the civil authorities and the relevant employers are now alerted to the situation. I'm more concerned that we see that this story is one more in what has been an endless cycle of stories of sexual abuse in 'churched' contexts."
Moore added: "We cannot assume that we can avoid this topic simply by making sure our doctrines are right, our values conservative, and our people sheltered from the world. If we are not addressing this issue, it is only because we are ignoring what is going on in our communities, and all too often in our pews."