Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.


There’s no excuse for child abuse

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Last Friday, Josh Duggar was charged with receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. Those of you who have been following the Duggar family were probably not that surprised, considering Josh’s previous transgressions.

In 2015, a police report was released to the public describing how Josh molested several of his sisters and one girl outside of the family. He was 14 at the time, and his youngest victim was 5. His parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, stated in a 2015 interview with Megyn Kelly that their son was not a pedophile.

Jim Bob explained that a pedophile is age 16 or older, and Josh was only 14 at the time the molestation took place. Maybe I’m crazy, but if you have to rely on semantics to prove your son is not a pedophile, you might be reaching a bit.

A couple of months after the police report became public, Josh’s name appeared in the Ashley Madison hack. He admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, Anna. The Duggars’ long-running reality show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting, was officially canceled.

Then TLC revived the show as Jill and Jessa: Counting On, meant to focus on the older children besides Josh and his family. Many viewers didn’t want to see Jim Bob and Michelle on the show, believing they enabled Josh’s abuse by keeping him in the same house as his victims.

TLC listened at first, but those two have slowly been re-introduced over the years. They were heavily featured in a recent “Easter” special, which was definitely filmed months before Easter happened.

Jill Dillard, the namesake of the new show and one of Josh’s victims, chose to stop filming a few years ago. Her husband Derick later revealed that Jim Bob received all the money from the TLC shows. According to Derick, Jim Bob told the adult children that the show was a ministry and they were volunteering their time to spread the word of God.

Well, it turns out TV contracts don’t work that way. Jim Bob was definitely receiving money for the show — a lot of money. Jill and Derick sued so that Jill could receive her fair share after filming for more than 10 years. Derick stated that, because of the lawsuit and their refusal to continue filming, he and Jill weren’t allowed to be at Jim Bob and Michelle’s home without permission.

But do you know who was allowed to be at their home, surrounded by children at all times, any time he pleased? Josh.

Josh moved on to the property with his family after his first two scandals and continued to live there until his arrest last week. When Homeland Security raided Josh’s workplace in 2019, Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement saying it’s “not true that any member of our family is the target of any investigation of any kind.”

According to Josh’s charges, he possessed images of child sexual abuse in May 2019. It’s pretty obvious he was under investigation at the time, but that never stopped Jim Bob and Michelle from lying about it.

Predictably, Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement after Josh’s arrest stating that they were praying “the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light.” They failed to condemn child abuse or hold Josh’s feet to the fire. That’s not particularly surprising, considering they have always coddled Josh.

But they can’t coddle him anymore. Josh wouldn’t have been charged with possession of child pornography if federal agents didn’t have airtight evidence proving his culpability. Josh’s goose is cooked.

In 2014, Michelle recorded a robocall expressing her opposition to an LGBT rights bill. She said transgender people will use the bill to enter restrooms and abuse children. She sure was quick to condemn child abuse then, so where is that attitude now?

Is it no longer child abuse when her child is doing the abusing? Will Jim Bob and Michelle ever condemn Josh’s actions, or will they keep lying about it and bringing in the big bucks from a staged reality show featuring their family’s free labor?

I think we all know the answer.