Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar (Fox News)

The 7 most horrifying exchanges from the Duggars' interview with Megyn Kelly

There were so many gasp-worthy moments in the Megyn Kelly/Duggar family interview. Here are the seven biggest


Salon Staff
June 5, 2015 1:14AM (UTC)

Megyn Kelly's interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar last night about their son Josh's sexual abuse of several sisters and a babysitter was a shocking and horrifying spectacle.

Kelly put the right questions before the Duggars, who seemed, again and again, despite all their media training, not to grasp the real issues -- and not to feel the same empathy for their daughters as they did for Josh.

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Here are the seven key exchanges from the interview.

1. "He said he was just curious about girls"

MEGYN KELLY: This is a young boy who has come to you with shocking information. What did you say? I mean, how did you respond to him? What was that like, that exchange?

MICHELLE. DUGGAR: There was so much grief in our hearts. I think as parents we felt, we're failures. You know, here we tried to raise our kids to do what's right, to know what's right. And yet one of our children made some really bad choices, and I think as a parent, we were just -- we were devastated.

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.

2. "That's when we pulled him out of the house"

KELLY: Did legal ever pop into your mind? Like we may have legal obligations?

J. B. DUGGAR: You know, what? As parents you're not mandatory reporters. The law allows for parents to do what they think is best for their child. And so we got him out of the home, and we sent him down to this place, and that was really probably the best decision we made through this whole process, because it was at that place -- this was the first time Josh has been out of the home.

KELLY: He was 15 at this point.

J. B. DUGGAR: He had just turned 15. And it was that the point that he came into himself, and God really worked in his life. As a matter of fact, he broke. And he went and asked God to forgive him. He went back and asked those who he had offended to forgive him. But we felt like the last jurisdiction of who did to do make things right with was the law.

KELLY: And we'll going to get to that in one second. The subsequent incident after the first one involved daughters who were awake, at least a couple of them?

J. B. DUGGAR: There was a couple, yes. And they didn't really understand, though, what happened.

KELLY: Yes. What --

M. DUGGAR: It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But they weren't even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn't - - to them they didn't probably even understand that it was an improper touch.

KELLY: I know that the ultimate one before you really got help involved a very young daughter, and I'll avoid the age because I don't want to identify anyone specifically, but a single digit. I mean, what was that like for you to hear? You know, one, you must have thought for some time this is a pubescent boy, I don't know what he's going through, but he's testing. But when it moves to a young daughter --

J. B. DUGGAR: Right. At that point, that's when we pulled him out of the house and we said, he can't be here. And so, we pulled him out and then, he went through working with that man --

KELLY: Yes. He goes through counseling.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes.

KELLY: And then when he was done with the counseling, this is not like a licensed therapist, it's somebody, a Christian-based --

J. B. DUGGAR: Christian based. But I'll tell you why.

3. "The ray of hope was that Josh had come and told us and his heart was still soft."

KELLY: Did it feel at all like a "Sophie's Choice," you know, I have to protect my daughters at the expense of my son or vice versa?

J. B. DUGGAR: You know, I think it was a situation where we felt like our son's heart had gone astray. I think Jesus shared a story about he had a hundred sheep and one went astray, and there he was. He took care of the 99 but he also went after the one that went astray. And so, as parents we still loved Josh and we love our other ones, but we're going to protect those that are in our hands, but also we're going to make sure Josh doesn't make any wrong choices.

M. DUGGAR: It doesn't mean that you're not a good shepherd. Jesus is a good shepherd but he went after that one that went astray. And so I think as parents we were trying to do the best that we knew how to help this one and protect these. And I feel like through that, as we came to that point where, you know, Josh shared, you know, improperly touching a young one, we were devastated and we said, we've got to send him out of the home. He has got to go and seek counsel and get help.

KELLY: Did you feel --

M. DUGGAR: And I mean, it was like that evening when they left and took him that same day, he just was weeping and shared immediately what he had done. And so, we were weeping and the little one was like, what's wrong? Why are daddy and Josh leaving? And as we're all weeping, the next day and for days and days I was saying, you know, Josh has done some very bad things, and he's very sorry.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. But I was thankful. The ray of hope was that Josh had come and told us and his heart was still soft. Because we wouldn't have known about any of these things if he hadn't come and told us.

4. "As parents, you feel like a failure"

KELLY: What about that Jim Bob, as a parent, did you feel guilty when you learned that his behavior had continued and other girls in the house had become victims?

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. I think as parents, you feel like a failure when one of your kids does something wrong. You feel like if I had done more training or maybe something else that this wouldn't have happened. But the truth is that kids will make their own choices. And they will make their own decisions even though you've taught them what's right and wrong.

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.

KELLY: And just to clarify, it was four daughters and there was a babysitter outside the family.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes.

KELLY: Okay. And you notified her about the incident.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. He called her up and asked her forgiveness, and she didn't know that he had done anything, either. So, it was more just like a --

KELLY: A fondling.

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.

5. "It had been forgiven, we moved on with life."

KELLY: What would make you launch a reality TV show about your family given this past?

J.B. DUGGAR: You know, back early on, it was after all this was taken care of in 2002-2003, we actually had a magazine that came to Michelle and said, hey, can we do a story about your family? And we said yes, that would be fine.

KELLY: But are you thinking at all, wait, this might not be a good idea because when you bring cameras into your home, they tend to discover things and people get more interested in you.

J.B. DUGGAR: We had nothing to hide. We had taken care of all that years before. And when they asked us to do the reality TV show, all of this had been taken care of five years before and we had a clean bill of health from the state. We said you had gone through counseling, you told the police...

KELLY: Did any of the girls or did Josh say, whoa, hold on, mom and dad hold on.

J.B. DUGGAR: We had no fear because everything was taken care of, and that was a -- that was actually a sealed juvenile record. And they had told us that all this stuff was done as a juvenile, this was all stuff that was sealed, and this is stuff that under law there is no way that this could ever be brought out.

KELLY: Did you live in fear that it might come out?

M. DUGGAR: I don't know that we lived in fear because we had all resolved it, it had been forgiven, we moved on with life.

6. "You do not view Josh as a pedophile?" "No."

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?

J.B. DUGGAR: No.

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.

7. "Hopefully justice will be served...." on the people who released the records

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.

KELLY: It must have been terrible. I mean I'm sure you're going through hell right now.

M. DUGGAR: What's devastating as a mom for me is we took our children to the children safety center. We trusted them. We trusted the police department. Our children poured out their hearts. They shared everything. And then to have their trust betrayed? And for all of their information and everything they share to be turned over to a tabloid, for those things to be twisted and shared in a slanderous way, story after story, tabloid after tabloid. That breaks my heart for my girls because I think this is such a horrible -- they've been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks than they were 12 years ago because they honestly - - they didn't even understand or know that anything had happened until after the fact when they were told about it. And so I think there's not -- in our hearts before god, we haven't been keeping secrets, we have been protecting those that, honestly, should be protected. And now what's happened is they've been victimized. But people with an agenda, and for whatever profit they think they're going to get? But in this, one thing I know is God is going to use all of this for good.


Salon Staff

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