Duggars Insist Their Son Is Not A Pedophile In Megyn Kelly Interview

Last night’s Megyn Kelly interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar was, well, pretty much what we all expected it to be. To Kelly’s credit, the interview wasn’t quite as soft as she promised, though all the more probing questions were attributed to what their “detractors” were saying.

The most striking thing for me was the way they spun every question about their daughters into answers about their son Josh, and how he was a good kid who did a bad thing and has since repented. Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t think it was a media tactic. I think it’s more that they just come from a culture where women aren’t all that important, other then as baby factories. As soft as Kelly had promised to be, it was clear that she was starting to get a bit annoyed with their refusal to acknowledge what their daughters went through and the responsibility they were supposed to have to them.

KELLY: I’m asking you more as the father of your girls than as the father of Josh. You know, it must have been very hard to look at your little one and know the behavior had been ongoing, as difficult as your position was.

J. B. DUGGAR: Right. I was so thankful, though, that Josh came and told us. And our girls, even though this was a very bad situation, as we’ve talked to other families who have had, you know, other things happen, a lot of their stories were even worse.

The Duggars certainly seemed to try to push the line that Josh was the only one who ever came to them or anyone about this, and that even his victims hadn’t known he’d been touching them–which we know, due to the police reports, to be untrue. Specifically regarding the incident with the youngest victim.

They also really, really tried to minimize the amount that it is messed up to molest girls while they sleep–chalking most of it up to being “curious about girls.”

KELLY: Did he explain why? I mean, was that a question that you asked?

JIM BOB DUGGAR: He said he was just curious about girls, and he had gone in and just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping. They didn’t even know he had done it. And so we went, and the first thing was to protect the girls.

Now, we can understand that in an oppressive household where the only thing you learn about sex is that “it’s bad and you shouldn’t do it until you’re married,” why a teenager might be overly “curious.” But being curious is one thing, and touching your sisters’ breasts and vulvas as they sleep is another one entirely.

That’s another thing. Throughout the interview the Duggars tried to minimize Josh’s actions by insisting the girls didn’t even know.

J. B. DUGGAR: — a touch while they were asleep for most of them. Then there was two other incidents that when they were awake, and it was just a bad thing. It was something we would like to forget.

In various other parts of the interview, Michelle also repeatedly insisted that the girls didn’t know, that these violations were so slight that they hadn’t even realized they had been molested until hero parents Michele and Jim Bob talked to them about it. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were a kid growing up in that household, that is not exactly a thing I would feel comfortable bringing up.

Surprisingly, Kelly did bring up Michelle’s robo-calls, in which she inferred that trans people were going to come into public bathrooms and molest children. In a way, this was the most revealing part of the interview, as Michelle Duggar stuck to her guns, insisting that trans people were pedophiles and her precious son was not.

KELLY: What the critics are going for is that you shouldn’t have been preaching about moral values when you had a secret like this in your own family, that you should be calling other people sinners when you yourselves are sinners.

J.B. DUGGAR: Our son violated god’s principles from doing some improper touching. That was terrible. But yet I think it’s been recently said that what Josh did was inexcusable but it was not unforgivable.

KELLY: Like Huckabee said that. I know he’s a friend of your family. Michelle, let me ask you, because you were in the news for making a robo call that suggested transgender people might want to go into the bathrooms of girls — locker rooms of girls and that they may be child molesters. Folks have used that in the past week against you saying how could you unfairly, in their view, compare transgender people to child molesters, knowing what you know about Josh?

M. DUGGAR: I think that protecting young girls and not allowing young men or men in general to go into a girls’ locker room is just common sense.

KELLY: But this is different because you injected child molestation into it.

J.B. DUGGAR: I think you actually said pedophile, and a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Josh was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did, and I think the legal definition was 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.

KELLY: You do not view Josh as a pedophile?


KELLY: What I’m asking is can you understand the critics’ reaction to this news?

M. DUGGAR: I can understand that, but I know that every one of us have done things wrong. That’s why Jesus came. I feel like this is more about — there is an agenda and there are people that are purposing to try to bring things out and twisting them to hurt and slander.

Hold up here.

I was 15 years old once. You were 15 years old once. At that age, as a high school sophomore, did you have any desire to touch the intimate parts of a five-year-old? Was that even on your radar? Because it sure as hell wasn’t on mine. I did not think of five-year-olds in a sexual way, because I wasn’t a pedophile. Five-year-olds are not in your peer group when you are 15.

I’m sorry, but I do not believe that Jim Bob or Michelle, with her “who me?” Minnie Mouse voice do not understand why people think they might be hypocrites. That is hardly a difficult thing to wrap your head around.

When you go around saying it’s “sinful” to kiss before marriage, or to hug people normally, or to be gay, or trans, or a woman who works outside the home, or not a Christian–you had better have all your personal ducks in a row. You had better not be throwing those stones from a glass house.

I am dead sure that the Duggars would vastly disapprove of me and my life, but you know what? I’m not a child molester, or a person who protected a child molester. That is what people are feeling right now, and yes, there is a bit of schadenfreude involved here.

Towards the end of the interview, the Duggars revealed who they think is the real “sinner” here–and it’s not them, and it’s not Josh. It’s the person who released the police files.

KELLY: Do you think the show will be canceled? Has TLC given you any indication?

J.B. DUGGAR: You know, at this point our family is just trying to regroup from these attacks. When you’re in every newspaper and everything throughout the world, it’s been an unprecedented attack on our family. And it was actually — this information was released illegally, so I wonder why all this press isn’t going after the system for releasing juvenile records. That is a huge story. Now, what our son did 12 years ago, I’m sure it’s a major story to them too, but yet, hopefully justice will be served on the ones that released juvenile records to protect other juveniles’ from their records from being released.

Now, I am actually a huge advocate for sealing and expunging juvenile records in most cases. However, in cases involving child molestation? I really can’t say that I’m all for it. I’m sorry, but I think shoplifting is a phase one can grow out of, but I’m not that confident when it comes to people with predilections towards sexually assaulting children. In cases like that, I think that protecting potential new victims comes first.

But that is beside the point. By focusing on what they believe that officer did wrong by going to the media, it sounds a lot like “We’re not sorry he did it, we’re sorry he got caught”–which is messed up.

I don’t think the Duggars learned anything from this, and I don’t think their supporters did either. They will continue to view all “sin” as equal, and see the only truly wrong thing as not asking god for forgiveness. They will continue to see “sin” as not that bad when they do incredibly horrid things, and yet feel free to throw stones at people who are just, well, normal.

This Friday, Kelly will be interviewing two of the victims in this tragedy, and from what I can see so far from the clips at the end of this interview, I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch.

[Transcript via Salon]