UPDATED with quote from one of Josh Duggar’s sisters/victims: “I do want to speak up in his defense, against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying,” Jessa Duggar, one of four sisters that Josh Duggar allegedly fondled when he and they were minors, told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly in an interview today.
“I’m like, ‘that is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims,” Jessa said during the interview, which will be telecast on tonight’s The Kelly File. She described what her brother did as being “very wrong.” According to a second report made public this morning by In Touch magazine, Josh Duggar, when he was a teen, allegedly fondled the breasts and genital area of four of his sisters, one of whom was 5-years-old at the time.
PREVIOUS: Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly interviewed two of the Duggar daughters, Jill and Jessa, for tonight’s broadcast. It will be the first time any of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims have been named. All police reports posted by In Touch magazine, which broke the news of Josh Duggar having, when he was a teen, fondled five minors including four of his sisters, redacted the names of the victims.
Jessa is now in her early 20s and married to Ben Seewald and expecting her first child. Jill, also in her 20s, is married to Derick Dillard, and has a child.
Kelly’s interview with these two particular victims may make it tough for TLC to move ahead with any plan to wipe the ick off the franchise but salvage the audience. When the story first broke, among the ideas being tossed about was maybe dumping 19 Kids And Counting and instead doing a spinoff series focusing on the two grown and married daughters, who are now living away from parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Jim Bob and Michelle who, according to police reports, waited more than a year to inform authorities of the alleged fondling of minors that had been going on in their household to minors on multiple occasions. Adding the victim daughters to Kelly’s broadcast also raises questions as to whether Jim Bob and Michelle, in an effort to nuke the spinoff idea, swayed their daughters to participate. So many questions.
To that point, Kelly told Deadline last night, “[Jim Bob and Michelle] very much understand their show and reputation are on the line.” But, she said, the Duggars also believe the show “has a chance still. It’s not totally done.”
“I think they knew they needed to speak to somebody and get their story out,” Kelly added — their story being that the information about their son and daughters was “released without their consent.”
This morning, Fox News released a glimpse of tonight’s broadcast, in which Michelle Dugger looks at her husband and says, “As parents we felt, ‘We’re failures’,” while Jim Bob nods in agreement. In addition to Jill and Jessa, two more of their daughters were molested by Josh in their house.
Just a few hours before the interview began, In Touch published an update to its Duggar coverage – this one based on a report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office saying their son Josh Duggar had, in March 2002, come to Jim Bob to confess “that he had been sneaking into [redacted, his sisters’] room at night and had been touching [redacted, his sisters] on the breasts and vaginal areas while they were sleeping” in a common bedroom, that Josh went from sister to sister, and that it had occurred four to five times.
In Touch said it obtained this report, as it had with the Springdale Police Department report on Josh Duggar, using the Freedom of Information Act.
Late last week the Fox News primetime anchor landed tonight’s much-chased interview with the Duggar parents. The bulk of the interview, conducted today in their hometown in Arkansas, will air tonight, but FNC also has planned a one-hour Kelly File Special for Friday night.