“I was one of the victims,” Jessa Duggar Seewald told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in an exclusive, emotional interview Friday night. It’s why, she says, she’s entitled to correct the record about her brother’s behavior.
in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday. When he was a minor, Josh Duggar “improperly touched” five victims, including four of his younger sisters, the embattled reality TV star’s parents told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar – stars of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” – appeared on “The Kelly File” two days ahead of their daughters Jessa and Jill. Twelve years ago, when Josh was “just 14,” they said, he “improperly touched some of our daughters.” Jim Bob Duggar called it “one of the … darkest times our family has ever gone through,” adding, ”We were devastated.”
But despite the family’s regret over Josh’s behavior, Duggar’s sisters Jessa Duggar Seewald and Jill Duggar Dillard want the public to know their brother is not a rapist. “I do want to speak up in his defense,” Seewald said, calling the characterization “a lie.”
Dillard told Kelly she was 12 when she was told by her parents that her oldest sibling had touched her inappropriately. Seewald recalled being “nine or 10.”
“What Josh did … was very wrong,” Seewald said. He was “a little too curious about girls” and “he made some bad choices.” But, she said, “the extent of it was … mild, inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims,” adding “it wasn’t a horror story.”
Dillard broke down crying when Kelly asked how she felt upon learning the story would be on the cover of a magazine, calling the experience “a revictimization.”
“Everybody’s angry,” Seewald said of the recent scrutiny.
On Wednesday, In Touch Weekly reported that on “three separate occasions,” Josh Duggar admitted that as a minor, he committed “multiple acts of sexual molestation.” The magazine attributes the information to a police report obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Authorities say the report has since been destroyed per a court order.
Last week, after the allegations surfaced, Josh Duggar apologized for acting “inexcusably,” and his parents – who became famous for their conservative Christian values – acknowledged “some very bad mistakes.”
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Josh Duggar said in an apology posted on the family’s Facebook page. “I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
As bad as the childhood experience was, Seewald told Kelly of the recent media attention, “These last few weeks have been a thousand times worse for us.”