Southern Baptist Conference President Ronnie Floyd said Friday that "forgiveness and healing is available to all persons," including Josh Duggar of "19 Kids and Counting," who's embroiled in a scandal following revelations from an illegally leaked police report that detailed his confession to molesting four of his sisters and one baby sitter when he was a teenager.
The senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas spoke out once before on the recently leaked police report alleging that Josh molested five girls as a teenager. But after news broke Wednesday that the eldest Duggar son molested four of his sisters, Floyd told The Christian Post that his church was "deeply burdened."
"Cross Church strongly affirms the biblical truth that children are a treasure from the Lord and is unequivocally committed to the protection of children from abuse," said Floyd in an emailed statement to CP. "We are deeply burdened for all victims of child abuse, especially those harmed by sexual abuse."
Floyd, who was incorrectly identified as the Duggar family pastor in reports earlier this week, went on to point out that the "19 Kids and Counting" stars are not members of Cross Church. Nevertheless, the pastor thanked God for the testimony of the Duggar family relating to the molestation scandal, including parents Jim Bob and Michelle's statement on Facebook, Josh's apology, and the family's recent interview with Fox News.
"Josh Duggar, his family, and his parents are not members of Cross Church," said the pastor. "While not members of Cross Church, we praise God for the testimony of this Christian family. The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that forgiveness and healing is available to all persons — no matter their sins."
The maelstrom began after a police report from 2006 resurfaced online last week alleging that Josh Duggar molested five girls when he was 14-years-old. Shortly thereafter, Duggar apologized for acting "inexcusably." His parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, acknowledged the police report, referring to it as "one of the most difficult times in our lives."
On Wednesday, Jim Bob and Michelle sat down with Fox News' Megyn Kelly where they confirmed that four of the victims were Josh's sisters. According to the illegally released police report, one of Josh's sisters that he inappropriately touched was believed to be 5-years-old at the time. Jim Bob and Michelle defended Josh, declaring, "This was not rape or anything."
"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," said Jim Bob.
"19 Kids and Counting" first premiered on TLC in 2008 and is one of the network's top-rated programs. However, the future of the show is uncertain today. Several reports suggest that TLC has canceled "19 Kids and Counting" and pulled the show from its summer lineup, but the network has not confirmed or denied these reports.