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Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@teaminfocus.com.au.

130 Comments

  1. avatar

    alexbryn

    Well done.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Alex Mob

      Excellent article, except he was NOT 12…..he was 14 through 15 during the molestations….

  2. avatar

    Travis

    I couldn’t have put it better if I tried.

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Maribeth Curry

    Well written, well analyzed and spot on… if only we could get this article out to the Christian church!!!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. avatar

    julie oliver

    Thank you Jason for the nitty gritty truth. You described the elephant in the room perfectly.

    Reply
  5. avatar

    PENNY

    THIS IS ALL WELL AND SAID… BUT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT LAW… IT IS A CRIME TO COMMIT ADULTRY… YOU CAN BE CHARGED IN A COURT OF LAW… AND GAS BEEN DONE IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND WON……

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the comment Penny. You’re correct that in some US states, adultery is technically a crime, although it would be viewed by most as a bit of an anachronism. My limited knowledge of law is rooted primarily in Australia where I live and work. While adultery might fit into a different category based on jurisdiction, the categories themselves (sin vs. crime) are valid and the implications remain unchanged.

    2. avatar

      Joanna

      Oh, Penny. I live in South Carolina. Wish I had a dollar for every instance of adultery that I know of that occurs in this great state. I think you missed the point. People use this in defining “no-fault” divorce, not criminal activity. It just states that a guilty party can’t receive alimony. That is very different from a criminal offense the author was describing in the article.
      I think the point was, we, as Christians, always need to be on the side of the victim. Whether the victim of a badly ending marriage in the case of South Carolina, or in the case described here. Whether with trafficking victims or foster kids. I’m pretty sure he does know the law as he was using for an exemplar… Regardless, hostile replies in all caps that don’t refute his point are totally unnecessary.

    3. avatar

      Dealt with privately and properly not slung all over the media

      In the bible and in the law at that time, adultery was considered a crime. You were stoned to death. It was until the woman was brought to Jesus did we hear an account of the person (in this case a woman) that was saved from it. It didn’t change the law at that time, it spared her the consequences of the crime. It gave her an opportunity to repent, change and do better with her life.

      I understand your points about young offenders. I agree wrong is wrong and right is tright. But you clearly missed the mark or did not explain it fully regarding juvenile crime and its implications. At what age do we deem a child responsible for their actions. 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 14, 15, that is the debate for years now about juvenile crime. Should the record be expunged or sealed if effectively dealt with. Should it follow them into adulthood. Shoudl there be an opportunity for rehabilitation, etc. Should it be published all over the Internet and the media and who determines that right? This whole thing put the victims right in the middle of a media frenzy and they had NO say if they wanted people to know about it. What about their rights???? They were outted without any chance to voice their right if they wanted it or not. They have been re victimized PERIOD. Please note my caps are not yelling they are for emphasis only.

      When releasing records perhaps we should consider the rights of all people listed in the report. Other than the parents,the rest of them listed were NOT adults. They were underage.

      I don’t agree with what Josh Duggar did PERIOD. I DO have a huge problem publically throwing stones at the entire family because whether you like it or not….the other children of the family are being hurt by this. The victims and the innocent ones. Where was their choice????

      Here is a link about the repercussions and proper treatment of children and sexual crimes.

      http://m.hrw.org/reports/2007/us0907/7.htm

  6. avatar

    Rebecca

    Out of everything I’ve read since this all broke loose, and practically in my backyard, (I live in NW Arkansas)
    Your article made the most sense.
    Thank you. I hope you don’t mind if I share it on my Facebook wall.

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Joy

    This article is legendary.

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Tamerlane Diwagoniwli

    Jason I’ve been trying to say this on posts. You said this wonderfully and show many Christians know the difference. Well said

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Geena

    Finally, a reasonable, well written article that explains it all! Thank you, Jason, for your insightful take on what has happened with the Duggars.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Jolene

    Thank you! I was sexually violated as a minor by family members, and the exact thing happened to me. My mother went to the church, I was told to forgive and forget, and also to get over it. No authorities were involved and he continued to serve as a deacon and later an assistant pastor in the church. He is now a full time pastor. I have had to live with this most of my life, and I am finally getting the right help. This really messed with my faith because the very people who were to protect me instead protected the abuser! I have read many of the articles and they never mention anything of protecting the victims or how they are feeling right now which disgusts me! Thank you for saying it so well!!

    Reply
    1. avatar

      LaLa

      This happened to me as well by a family member who was also a church leader. My faith has been on shaky ground ever since. I wish now that my family would have taken him to task with the authorities. I wonder if he did this to others after me because he had no real ramifications for his actions.

    2. avatar

      Grace

      ((hugs to Jolene)) Same story, over and over. It’s not the gays, it’s not the atheists. It’s the straight, Christian pastor, cub scout leader, Quiverfull father and brother we need to fear. But we are told to shut up, told it is our fault, and they get a free pass. Over and over and OVER. *rage*

    3. avatar

      Trina Riepe

      I am so very, very sorry for what happened to you Jolene. ????

    4. avatar

      kaysim

      I’m so terribly sorry this happened to you (and to others), but I have a sincere question to ask you (and others as well).

      I’m an atheist. Now, I do NOT proclaim “there is no god” because I don’t know that to be true. I simply completely lack a belief in the existence of deities. But…if someone’s faith gives them comfort, I’m totally in favor of it…as long as they don’t try to force their faith on others. Heck, for all I know, there *are* gods out there. I just don’t happened to believe that’s true.

      My question arises, rather, because so many people in this tragic situation talk about how their faith was messed with because their church or their religion supported their abusers rather than them. (As you wrote so sadly, “This really messed with my faith because the very people who were to protect me instead protected the abuser!”)

      But shouldn’t your faith be in your God, rather than in the particular God-business you practiced/were raised in??? That’s where *I* get confused. I mean, I can understand why a little kid couldn’t separate the two. But adults? It just confuses…and saddens…me.

      Thanks in advance!

  11. avatar

    j

    I’m genuinely touched by this.

    Reply
  12. avatar

    Valerie Johnson

    Thank you Jason, this article is well written and easy to understand. I have also read Michael Seewald’s blog about the current Duggar situation. While I agree with some of the points he made, I feel your article is more enlightening . Your explanation of sin versus crime makes a lot of sense to me. I hope that Mr, Seewald, Mr.and Mrs. Duggar and and all of their adult and teenage children read your article.

    Valerie Johnson, Canada

    Reply
  13. Pingback: A Voice For The Victims | Why Not Train A Child?

  14. avatar

    Tanya

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Vickie SB

    Exactly! As a former victim you took so much of the feelings about this situation I have and excellently expressed them. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. avatar

    Harmyk777

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your points are spot on. I have been sick to my stomach thinking of those poor girls that were abused and what they went through and probably are still going through. We need to be in prayer for these girls and ask the Lord for healing and an abundance of love and grace in their lives….

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeanne

      It is presumptuous to think that victims stay victims their entire lives. Reading the 2009 police report, at least two of the Duggar girls had no memory of the abuse. You should be in prayer for those girls because they have now been exposed and victimized by the media and a liberal culture that is willing to exploit their situation to destroy Josh Duggar.

    2. avatar

      Barry

      Jeanne,
      Actually, it is presumptuous to think that those two Duggar girls you refer to will have no “memory” of the abuse in the future just because they did not have that memory in 2009. If I pray for them, it will be because they were exposed and victimized by their brother, and then again by their parents at the time of the abuse, and now once more because their brother and their parents covered it up in the first place and the truth has finally come out. Oh, and they’re being abused and victimized once more by you and a conservative culture that places no value on their own lives as girls and young women and is willing to minimize their experience to glorify Josh Duggar and protect a TV show.

    3. avatar

      Grace

      *nods* I have huge black holes in the first 23 years of my life. Memories have comeback in various ways – dreams I jolt out of feeling sick and realizing they weren’t dreams at all, sudden flashes triggered by various things, etc. They were victims, they are survivors, and they can be whatever they find strength to be, but nothing makes what happened magically not have happened.

    4. avatar

      Jeanne

      Barry, The truth is coming out…that Josh Duggar’s juvenile record was sealed by the state of Arkansas automatically upon reaching age 18 (Arkansas Statutes § 9-27-309) and that someone illegally released that record to the media. Juvenile records are sealed and/or expunged to protect both the youthful perpetrator AND the victims. It’s clear from the Megyn Kelly interviews that Jessa and Jill are more disturbed and victimized by this publicity than the actual offense 12 years ago. No one,including you, has the right to insist that victims must behave in a certain way or remain victims their entire lives because it’s the victims’ stories to tell, not yours, not the media’s, etc.

    5. avatar

      Barry

      Jeanne,
      At no time did I “insist” that victims must behave in a certain way or remain victims their entire lives.” I said it was presumptuous of YOU to think that they wouldn’t have any memory of the abuse in the future just because they didn’t have that memory in 2009. As for any statements made by them on TV, in which the parents apparently also said that they’re trying to salvage the show (presumably to protect the income stream), I find it highly likely that they are simply continuing the “do everything to protect the family reputation at all costs” mentality that others have addressed in these same comments. As you indeed say, “the truth is coming out,” and I’m not the one threatened by the truth. I agree that the girls are disturbed by recent revelations, but I suggest that that’s because their carefully constructed and constricted world has been shown to be something other than what their parents have presented to the outside world. Yes, it’s probably painful for them, but if the abuse hadn’t been covered up when it happened, and if they had received proper counseling at that time, and if their parents hadn’t turned the whole family into a publicity stunt and income stream, then there’s a greater likelihood that we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all, and that both the girls and Josh would be in much better places today.

  17. avatar

    MeganC

    Thank you . . . thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  18. avatar

    mary

    Great thoughts… But this is driving me crazy… It’s VICE-versa, not VISA-versa. :-)

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Oops! Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed.

  19. avatar

    Ashley Fuchs

    This is one of the the best things this I have read in a very long time. I hope you have submitted this to several large publications! Standing O…

    Reply
  20. avatar

    robynn

    This was handled wrong on so many levels, the parents the church and definitely the police. especially the police seeing as how the officer Jim Bob talked to his friend is now in prison for pornography. but I am just so tired of hearing about poor Josh when the victims are the girls. the girls seem to have been thrown under the bus on this just save Josh’s behy’s and the family’s reputation. I have news for Josh they may have forgiven him but they won’t forget. and now he has a daughter does that seem to concern anyone?

    Reply
    1. avatar

      DonzaMama

      I was just voicing the same concerns for his daughter last night! Excellent article and most level-headed thinking on this situation that I’ve seen yet!

    2. avatar

      Peggy

      Does anyone listen to the interviews on Fox News with the Duggar parents and then 2 of their daughters, now married? The police officer now serving 56 yrs in prison for child Pornography was not the friend Jim Bob initially talked with…as a friend! When he took Josh to the Arkansas State Police, the officer who took their report was unknown to them! Arkansas law also does not require that parents report this kind of brief touching by a minor child in a family. They are not mandatory reporters, but may handle it within the family. I hope you’re not believing all the media sensationallizing here. Yes, Josh was very wrong as a kid 12 yrs ago, but the parents did all they could to help him & their daughters. Josh was sent away for 3 months for help, all involved got licensed professional counseling, and safeguards were put in place in the home, such as locks on doors at night. The 2 girls, now in their 20 ‘ s said they feel 1000 times more victimized now with the media frenzy.

    3. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      Well said Peggy.

      Some people have pre-maturely made false claims on this thread. I wonder if they will have the integrity to go back and correct the record?

    4. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Peggy, I think you may misunderstand mandatory reporting. Mandatory reporting, in any jurisdiction I’m aware of, has to do, not with whether a crime must be reported, but rather with whether suspicion of crime must be reported. If a teacher sees bruises and suspects crime, mandatory reporting requires her to report the suspicion. If a crime takes place, that is another story altogether. A lack of mandatory reporting does NOT mean that crimes need not be reported. As far as the girls themselves on Fox, anyone who has worked with these sorts of cases at any length understands that children coming out of these sorts of families can easily take years to come to understand the damage. I’m not saying they should be dismissed. I’m just saying that they will say what they think they’re supposed to say. What they actually feel? Well, in many families of the sort the Duggars are alleged to be, they’ve been systematically trained that what they feel is not important (“you have no rights”). Children who are sexually abused have already received the message loud and clear: “What you think and feel is not important. Don’t be selfish.”

    5. avatar

      Kezia Dennison

      Jeremy, what false claims are you referring to?

      Peggy, I think it would be unwise to take either of the Duggar interviews at face value.

  21. avatar

    LoriL

    This is spot on commentary. Absolutely the best and most true thing that I’ve seen written about this issue.

    Reply
  22. avatar

    Laurita_a

    Generally agree with all you have said except for saying the role of the state is a God-given right. You take the biblical quote out of context. The quote was a statement referring to worldly goods specifically the money of the day had Caesar’s face on the coin used to illustrate the point. I would certainly say following the laws of the state is something all Christians should do unless they directly conflict with the rules of the religion. Don’t disagree on any of our points, just the reasoning referencing the biblical quote.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Laurita_a

      Meant to say any of your points.

    2. avatar

      Travis

      Sorry – read romans 13

      The state IS our God given authority.

    3. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the comment Laurita_a. I agree entirely that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 22 doesn’t specify that Caesar’s role in crime is God-given. It simply assumes that the power to tax belongs to government. It was not my intention at all to suggest that this particular passage teaches that the prosecution of crime is given by God to government. I was actually referring to the explicit statement in Romans 13:1-5: “He is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” I’ve addressed this matter in more depth in my series on prosecuting crimes (http://teaminfocus.com.au/series/prosecuting-crimes/).

  23. avatar

    PJ'sBubbie

    I am neither Christian nor conservative. I am however the victim of a rape by an adult family member when I was 12 years old. I never had the opportunity to seek justice from my attacker. My only solace is that when he went into the cold ground he had to face his God. Your article on Josh Dugger is cogent, insightful and speaks perfectly to the issues of sin and crime. Thank you for giving voice to the victims of this world.

    Reply
  24. Pingback: How the Duggars Failed to Trust God's Divine Plan Amid Sexual Abuse

  25. avatar

    Wendy

    Well done Jason. Point #7, he was 14, not 12 — they became aware of it 12 years ago.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the comment Wendy. I was aware that he was not twelve. My purpose in the article was not to give commentary on Josh Duggar but to establish points we can all agree on. I was, therefore, just giving a typical age for a victim of child abuse.

  26. avatar

    Hartee

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Spot on.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Grace

      Ditto. A million times. Thanks, Josh.

  27. avatar

    Tone

    Just wondering, do these principles apply to all crime or just sexual crime. I have never even watched the Duggars, no clue. But wondering if a teenager steals money from the parents or siblings…do we get the police involved? If a brother beats the crap out of another brother or sisters…do charges need to be filed? Just processing where the separation comes? At what point? I do not even really know what he did to the sisters, but I wonder if this is a blanket statement you are making? Obviously sexual sin is different.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Travis

      If you need help figuring that out – it’s probably best you don’t have kids.

    2. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the question Tone. I think are a number of factors to be considered including magnitude of the crime, the effects on the victim, the damage to society, and even the damage to the perpetrator. But probably the biggest factor would be the power dynamic. Crimes of abuse (misusing power) are inherently different from crimes such as property crime. This is certainly an area that would merit a full discussion. I recall there was at least some discussion on this topic in the comments to my article “Should I pursue prosecution of crimes against me?” (http://teaminfocus.com.au/should-i-pursue-prosecution-of-crimes-against-me/) fwiw.

  28. avatar

    Shirley

    I understand the topic of child molestation is a painful subject for so many and stirs up all kinds of emotion and memories of their own experiences. It makes us want to go to battle to protect our children and those who are weak and cannot protect themselves. I do have to state the sadness that I feel for the Dugger’s that this has come out at this time. Apparently Josh was 14 or 15 years old and would sneak into his sisters bedroom and touch them while they were sleeping, and sometimes while they were awake too. This is disgusting to think that an older brother would do such a thing to his sisters. I understand that the family did address the situation, took precautions that it would not happen again, and with the authorities in control took all of the kids involved to counseling. They have worked through the healing process and have all dealt with forgiveness. And all of this happened before their TV show began. Also Josh confessed this to his wife 2 years before they got married and Anna and her family felt confident in his now mature character. What saddens me the most is the fact that the media has now drug this deep dark shameful, painful, horrible, disgraceful, family incident out to be ridiculed by everyone. ( Yes I get the fact that they signed up to be in the public eye) I can’t imagine being one of these beautiful girls having to live through this everyday in the public. That to me is just as if the public is now molesting them all over again. How will they ever live their lives now? Every time they go to any public place they will feel the eyes on them and hear the whispers behind their back. And as a parent I couldn’t imagine the world knowing the mistakes and sins of my own or of my children! Why are we as a society so quick to point out the sins of our neighbor and forget our own. As for me I will be lifting the entire Dugger family up in prayer and hope that somehow through this some good will come out.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Kim

      Thank you, Shirley, for wording my point of view so well.

    2. avatar

      Barry

      “I understand that the family did address the situation, took precautions that it would not happen again, and with the authorities in control took all of the kids involved to counseling. They have worked through the healing process and have all dealt with forgiveness.”
      There is no evidence that what you say happened actually happened. Having the boy talk to a police officer who himself was later sent to prison for child pornography is not the same thing as reporting what happened to responsible authorities on a timely basis. As you are not an actual victim, it strikes me as chutzpah for you to claim that they have “worked through the healing process and have all dealt with forgiveness” if you mean they are all “healed.” The young girls may have been put through some process and told that they need to forgive their brother, and they may even have agreed and said that they forgive him, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t bear residual scars or haven’t been permanently injured by his actions. Finally, you confuse”mistakes” and “sin” with “crime” when you say you can’t “imagine the world knowing the mistakes and sins of my own or of my children!” If you haven’t been committing mistakes and sins in public, you can certainly keep them private, but you don’t have the luxury of keeping your crimes private just because you prefer it that way (once they have been made public).

    3. avatar

      Misfit Mom

      Well said Barry. My thoughts too. I know a few things about these “Patriarchal Families”, and I could see just that.

    4. avatar

      Grace

      Damn straight, Barry.

      The PARENTS forgave their son and dismissed their daughters’ pain – by doing so, they committed further sin and crimes. It’s all about the male child and protecting both his “holy front” to the world (which garnered him a nice gig as part of a hate group) and their “image” as the perfect family. The girls don’t matter in these kinds of households, and I am certain they are being taught that they were to blame, just as I was – apparently my 4 year old self was just so damn seductive that my “loving” bio’rents (TM) couldn’t help themselves. But somehow *I* am damaged goods, not them – they remained “God’s head” over me and if they liked to diddle me in the dark that was just Jesus giving me an opportunity to forgive.” FFS Too angry to type anything else right now. But thanks, Barry, for standing up and debunking Shirley’s BS.

  29. avatar

    Shirley

    For some reason you seem to be implying that these girls have been brain washed into forgiving their brother. Forgiveness or forgiving is a verb, it’s an action, a continuing process. I know the subject of one forgiving the unforgivable is a hard concept for many to understand, but for a Christian it is what we believe. God is gracious to forgive us for our sins. The other topic of crime verses sin. None of us were there with the Dugger’s to witness first hand how they handled this with the authorities, but I am sure that if we were there we would be having serious discussions on how they should or should not handle it. The main problem now is the fact that this family has to relive something that happened 12 years ago, and deal with all of the pain and shame all over again.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Barry

      Shirley,
      The main problem is not the fact that this family (and don’t forget that there were girls from other families involved as well) “has to relive something that happened 12 years ago, and deal with all of the pain and shame all over again.” The main problem is that they didn’t actually deal with the initial “problem” correctly 12 years ago. And remember, the “pain and shame” of the parents and the perpetrator is a different pain and shame than that felt by the victims. The Duggars are feeling the “pain and shame” of being revealed to be something less than the model of parenting that they blast out to the world. The perpetrator is feeling the “pain and shame” of being a little less “holy” then he portrayed himself to be. The victims are feeling the “pain and shame” of being violated by their own brother and then again by their own parents who chose to protect him and carry on for years as if nothing had happened. It’s really not the same “pain and shame.”

      You are probably right that “none of us were there with the Duggars to witness first hand how they handled this with the authorities,” but we don’t have to be. That’s why the “authorities” produced actual reports of what happened. I suggest you read the police report to see how “they handled this.”

      As for being “brain washed,” that’s your term. Good choice though. I was actually thinking “coerced” or “manipulated.”

      On the topic of forgiveness, I can not tell you what to believe, but I don’t believe as you do. In my tradition, God can forgive sins that you have committed against God, but you still have to work hard to make amends for sins that you have committed against a person. And depending on the depth of your transgression, that work could be a lifetime endeavor.

    2. avatar

      Media propaganda versus facts.

      Well stated Shirley!!! It seems no one really thoroughly reads the police reports, yes reports, there is more than one, look at dates. It is easy to project one’s own thoughts. They were at the police station a few times about this. It was followed up more than once. Please read all the reports instead of spewing Media opinions. An agency even got involved. Not sure what happened after the law suite, I know they had overstepped their bounds, but they were clearly involved. It states counselling was given to the victims, it does not say what type of counselling, for how long, etc. Anyone saying differently please provide me with legitimate references and not simply this is what happened from my own personal experience and or conjectures of what I heard from media propaganda or other former church attendees. As all of that again is opinion, hearsay, not fact.

      I noticed their was more than one police officer that attempted contact with them. So what happened there?

      What Josh did was WRONG and the victims did have a right to say if they wanted their personal lives smeared all over the peverbial public place BEFORE it happened. No one asked them before it was published. I don’t see any of them coming forward not even the ones from the other families. Where are they? I still don’t see a caption, the victims speak out…’

    3. avatar

      Victimized

      To mediapropagaversusfact

      Just because the victims haven’t spoken out yet doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. I have always suspected there will be several #1 best sellers in the future from some members of this family.

  30. avatar

    kandi

    Jason’s article, and Shirley’s comments, are so spot on. This action of Josh 12 years ago was handled as well as could be done at that time. The public airing of all this now at this time is forcing those poor girls to relive the abuse they suffered so long ago. The hue and cry of the outraged public only serves to maximize the girls’ suffering, and does nothing to produce any increased “justice” for anybody.

    Many of us did things of which we are not particularly proud, during those teenage years – but we as Christians have sought and received forgiveness for our sins, and have moved on with our lives. Josh has also moved on with his life. Do you seriously believe that Anna and/or her parents would have proceeded with this marriage if they had reason to believe there was danger to future children? I think not. They had two years to consider this before the wedding took place.

    To my mind, it is absolutely criminal the way the public has jumped on the bandwagon to crucify the Duggars for what happened 12 years ago, and to force those girls to relive whatever did happen to them at that time.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Barry

      “This action of Josh 12 years ago was handled as well as could be done at the time.”

      Uh, no it wasn’t.

      Look up the word “sin” in a dictionary. Then look up the word “crime.” Receiving forgiveness for your sins is not the same as receiving punishment for your crimes. It’s nice that in your world, perpetrators and victims can “move on with their lives” with equal alacrity.

    2. avatar

      Jeanne

      Barry, the “crime” was handled in 2006 when two investigators interviewed the family members individually and privately. The work of the two investigators was supervised by two more police officers…that’s a total of four State justice representatives wielding the authority God has ordained to them. And they made the decision to not press criminal charges, i.e. there was no State punishment for his crime.

      Whether you like it or not, the case was “handled” and had someone been more diligent, the police report would have been expunged earlier so that the girls were not victimized all over again by a rabid media hungry for salacious news and Christians intent on crucifying Josh Duggar for the sins others inflicted on them. The fact the report has now been expunged at the request of one of the victims means the incident never happened in the eyes of the State. The fundamental fact is that the State “handled” it in a way you disagree with.

    3. avatar

      MJC

      Kandi,Shirley.Jeanne
      The only reason an investigation was done was because Harpo Industry was given a tip and it was taken to authorities. The Duggars were scheduled to go on the Oprah show but someone sent her a letter and she was the one who called for it. By then the statute of limitations had expired so criminal punishment could NOT happen. according to the police records:
      The Duggars handled this initially by going to the church first, having Josh admit his sins,repent and be forgiven, and then the parents waited a YEAR,after it happened AGAIN, to go to a police friend who did NOT file a report but rather gave him a “stern talk”. (the same officer who is in jail right now for child porn)
      The Duggar parents stated in that police report filed by the state-not them- that no counseling was received. Josh’s “punishment” was working at a family friend house remodeling homes.
      He was then sent back home without a mental evaluation, without counseling. He molested 4 of his sister,(one as young as 4!!!!) on more than one occasion. this is simply not a case of curiosity ,or of raging teen hormones, this is a sign of pedophilia!!! which last time I checked is FELONY!!!! How do we know the abuse stopped????? Several credible studies have been conducted throughout the years regarding behaviors of sexual predators, and it is proven that child molesters are almost always repeat offenders and have difficulty suppressing their urges,even with counseling…..
      But basically,the bottom line is that the situation was not handled as well as it could have.
      Josh committed a sin and a crime.
      Josh may have been “forgiven” but he was never punished for his crime.
      Josh was allowed back in the home with plenty of opportunity to reoffend after he came back home from doing 3 months of manual labor- (would you send a known alcoholic to an open bar if he one day says,”well I’ve been away working on houses for 3 months,I’m cured!”
      In this way, the victims, the daughters, were not protected.
      The parents did not protect their children. This can also be a crime. Child neglect!
      So are the public people really responding absolutely criminal???

      The Duggar girls will always remember. Yes,they may forgive and move on with their lives,I know I did in my situation,(I was sexually abused by a close family friend-I was 4,he was 13,he was never punished) but there will always be scars.
      My heart is heavy for the victims in this case, my heart is heavy for all of the Duggar family,even Josh, as I know this is an extremely difficult situation for any family to face, much less reface it now in the public eye!
      However, if reports were made when this first happened, and something was done about it, all juvenile records are mandated to be sealed, and the public could not have access to this information.
      They could have avoided a media storm if they chose to do so…..
      The public are not acting in a criminal way in this case…….

  31. avatar

    Joy

    The victims, Shirley, deal with the pain and shame daily.

    Reply
  32. avatar

    Elaine

    Josh,
    what a well thought out essay, I am not a Christian, I am a Jew. Your points are well made. Regardless of religious views, this kid needed real help and removal from his temptation. The Justice system, would have made sure that he was given appropriate punishment and/or help. The most important point is that his sisters were victims, they will develop issues. How can they ever trust anyone fully again.
    If more Christians were able to think critically instead of being blinded by belief systems that are not supported by the bible, the atmosphere in the US would be much more conducive dialog. I thank you for your thoughtfulness

    Reply
  33. avatar

    Misfit Mom

    A friend shared this article, but it’s like you have read my mind. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  34. avatar

    Shirley

    Everyone deals with things like this in a different way. Yes some relive their pain everyday, and have a hard time with dealing with life after a traumatic event. Some have the ability to leave the past in the past and can move on to have “normal” productive lives. We all are different that is how God has made us, but it is not our job to push our way of dealing with things onto others and condemn them for how they chose to handle the situation. If you feel like you need to take a lifetime to make amenz for your crime against another they by all means go ahead. But if one chooses to forgive the debt and wants the perpetrator to go live a happy life, that is their choice. It is a very freeing thing for the victim to forgive the unforgivable, it is very harmful for them to hold on to the pain and want revenge and for the other to suffer.
    I do speak from personal experience.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      It is not their choice. It is the government’s choice. A crime is not committed against a person legally. It is committed against the Crown (or the State). And it is the Crown/State’s decision how to handle that. Of course the Crown will rarely pursue prosecution without the cooperation of the victim. And of course there are times when pursuing prosecution is undesirable. But this has nothing to do with forgiveness or revenge. You can forgive and prosecute. You can entrust them to God for justice and cooperate with the Crown to prosecute. For a more detailed discussion on this question, consider my comments on “Should I pursue prosecution of crimes against me?” I also address this in my article “When you’ve been hurt: Common confusions” which is part of the series “When you’ve been hurt.”

  35. avatar

    julie

    This so well thought out and written, I’m impressed. Its good to hear a non biased story. I am a viewer of the show, not from the beginning, just since last year. I dont always agree with everything they say on the show. who agrees with everything anyone says, lol. I believe people watch because of the way they live day to day, the kids are kids. Sometimes they say disagreeable things, I dont get freaked out and jump to conclusions. Its a tv show. Hes their dad, he loves them. Shes their mom, she loves them. I dont think it should be called reality tv, it is not reality. please. They get paid, it is narrated and we never see them fight. lol. 19 kids, trust me, I guarantee there are some really good brawls with those kids. lol. I was raised in a large family, unfortunately, the reality, is that this is not that uncommon. It happens more than people admit. Who is going to call the police on their own child. Most of us would have handled it the same way. Get them professional help, support both the son and the daughters and other victims and never forget it that it happened and be sure it doesnt happen again! Im on the fence about cancelling the show, mostly because it happened before the show began and although I totally understand why it was never brought out(who is going to blow a chance at being tv stars?) He was a child himself. He hasnt continued to molest anyone that anyone can say. Who out there can honestly say you have never committed a crime or a sin. A sin is a sin and a crime is a crime. The justice system has forgiveness and so does God, so should we, especially if the victims themselves have forgiven him.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Barry

      Julie,
      Please read Grace’s comment below and reconsider your last sentence. Are you 100% sure the “victims themselves have forgiven him?”

  36. avatar

    Grace

    Thank you. THANK YOU.

    I’m the eldest daughter of a Quiverful family, which means I ranked somewhere in the vicinity of a gnat If anyone did anything sexual to me it was not only not a big deal, but also my fault, and the abuser was automatically the victim of my 4 year old, 7 year old, 10 year old, 13 year old “wiles”. My past led me directly into the arms of another abuser and rapist when I finally escaped, and it took me until I was in my late 30s to re-escape, find my footing and self respect, and eventually establish a healthy relationship that included joyful, rewarding sexuality. The fact that I told people what happened was and is considered by many to be far worse than the fact that it happened to me at all. My story is far from rare – households like the one I come from are everywhere. We are taught to be unfailingly positive, and most people don’t realize what lies behind our forced smiles, cute dresses and demure expressions – a lifetime of horrific abuses we don’t know how to ex scape and are terrified of being damned forever for. This is the BEST article I have seen on the Duggar mess, and I really did appreciate finding it this afternoon.

    Reply
  37. avatar

    Dan M

    I am the main editor for the 19 Kids and Counting page on Wikipedia, and I struggled (especially when the news first broke) to keep it fair and balanced – and accurate. There has been a lot of horrible things said, but only once did I see someone attempt to use the word “rape.” The legal definition of rape includes: “sexual penetration, force, and lack of consent.” I have read the police report. There was no penetration or force. Of course this is not saying that this was anything less than horrible and “wrong,” but we have to consider everyone involved. And I feel bad for the WHOLE family. But, thankfully, they are Christians and can rightly deal with it through forgiveness.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Barry

      Please explain: “But, thankfully, they are Christians and can rightly deal with it through forgiveness.” I am sure that victims of child abuse give thanks every day all over the world that their abusers are Christians and therefore, can “rightly deal” with their abusive acts through forgiveness.

      And, no, you really don’t have to “consider everyone involved.” At least not in the same way. You consider everyone involved in ways that are appropriate and related to their role in the event. Do you “consider” the hijackers who flew the 9/11 airplanes into the buildings in the same way as you view the innocent crew and passengers on the planes and in those building and on the ground?

    2. avatar

      Grace

      Barry, I love you. I really do.

      One time I was talking with a co-worker who had been gang-raped by her boyfriend and a bunch of his friends. I shared some of my own story as well; one of those woman to woman reciprocity things that only females who see sexual assault as a daily possibility understand. A sharing of the war stories, of the horrors of the occupation, if you will. Because our life is a battlefield, make no mistake.

      When we exited the small break room, where we had been having our private, sotto voce conversation, another co-worker who had plastered herself outside the closed door with he ear pressed to it grabbed my arm and hissed, “You better watch yourself talkin’ bout stuff like that! We don’t hold with people who been involved with incest ’round here!”

      INVOLVED. I was “involved”. Because I was 4 and asleep when my bio’rents (TM) came into my room and forced their fingers up inside me. I was “involved” in incest. *HEADDESK*

      Thanks again, Barry. You get it. And Dan… *smh* You never will.

    3. avatar

      Joanna

      There was indeed force. The police report stated that the molestation occurred “against the will of the victims, forcibly and repeatedly over a period of several years.” I will never forget reading those words.

      The Duggars found a corrupt Arkansas judge to expunge the record & now they are rewriting history to suit their needs.

      They need to apologize to the victims, their own daughters. It was clear in the interview Weds night that the victims were an afterthought. Watch it again if you need to.

    4. avatar

      Carolyn

      Dan M. …..Someone please correct me, but isn’t it legally called “rape” when penetration is made with a finger(s)? It doesn’t require the usual sexual organ. Even so, the other two requirements are there: force and lack of consent.

      Excellent discussion here.

  38. avatar

    lll_aa

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-01-07/child-sex-abuse/52431616/1

    It’s a shame that this is now a debate and separating families and friends because of something that nobody except those involved know the true facts. I realize that those girls are going to be dealing with the horrific effects of this their entire lives. It is horrible, and inexcusable what was done to them. They are now reliving every detail in the public eye, because of meddling people that wanted to expose the truth that was dealt with years ago. My heart hurts for these girls.

    What I am seeing through the reading of this article and the following comments is a lot of assuming. You are assuming that it was not dealt with appropriately, yet you yourself said that it is impossible to know the extent of the details at this point because they are not all available. Don’t assume that you know exactly what is going on in that family. If you are personal friends with any of them, then maybe you will state some fact instead of simply assumptions. This comment is meant for every other person commenting on this article as well as the author. My prayers for peace and healing go out to all of the Duggar family.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Travis

      Uh no. We know it was not dealt CRIMINALLY, it has nothing to do with anything else but the fact that the Duggars and those involved covered up what was a criminal act and thought that was just fine and good.

    2. avatar

      Jason Harris

      lll_aa,

      Perhaps you need to reread the article because I did not make assumptions. Fact is, I hardly commented on the Duggars. And the few places I did were matters of public record. The whole point of the article was not to give my two cents. It was, rather, to set down some basics that are prerequisite to being a decent human being.

    3. avatar

      Victimized

      And you are also assuming that everything was done correctly as well as assuming the girls have forgiven him and moved on. As a victim of sexual.abuse from a family that happened several times a week for at least ten years I am here to tell you that 40 years later I am still dealing with the effects of what I endured and that the happiest day of my life was when he died because I knew he couldn’t ever hurt me again!

  39. avatar

    Becky

    Jason I want to say thank you for the article. I just have one problem with this whole thing coming out. The person that leaked this to the GOSSIP people was an officer of the Law – she gave out this information knowing she was resigning. So who can you trust? Certainly not an officer of the law. Wonder how much money they gave her? Please I just want people to understand that the Victims are once again Victims. Shame on her for leaking this information just to destroy a family.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Travis

      That family wasn’t exactly… whole. I can’t imagine being in that family with a brother that feels me up. Gross.

    2. avatar

      menotyou

      The officer did not leak the information. She consulted with a judge to see if the request had to be complied with per the FOIA. She had NO CHOICE but to comply by law.

  40. Pingback: The Duggar dynamic in religious’ dealings with internal abuse | religionorpolitics

  41. avatar

    Jeanne

    Jason, I agree very much with Point 4 of your post, i.e. that the State has God-given authority to handle crime and dispense justice and the Church deals with the sin.

    Perhaps you should have read the 2006 police report in which police investigators document the interviews conducted with the family and victims. The interviews were conducted by Investigators W. Taylor and Darrell Hignite, supervised by Supervisor Barbra Denny and reviewed by Lee Andreadis. None of the police investigators and officers are related to Cpl. Hutchins, the family friend, who was later convicted of child pornography. So, there are four authoritative representatives of the State investigating reported criminal activity in 2006.

    The police ( the State) did not pursue criminal charges against Josh Duggar due to his age at the time of the abuse and no repeat offenses in the subsequent three years since the last offense. Arkansas has a 3 year statute of limitations on *civil* litigation but a 7 year statute of limitations on criminal matters and that 2006 police report was well within that 7 year time frame. The reality that some commenters such as Travis fail to acknowledge is that the State, as ordained by God with authority to do so, investigated and concluded it would not take judicial action against Josh Duggar. The “sword of justice” that God entrusts to the government choose not to wield itself against Josh Duggar. One can either rail against the injustice of it or acknowledge that God did give that authority to the State to make decisions you might not agree with.

    The church handled the sin as best they knew at the time. It appears the way the sin was dealt with followed Matthew 18 wherein Josh was confronted by his parents regarding his sin and it escalated to taking him before the elders when there was no evidence of repentance.

    And the readers who believe the victims are suffering “daily” since then, please read the 2006 police report. It’s 33 pages long and documents the questions asked individually and privately of nearly all the then living Duggar kids, including the victims. At least 2 of the victims have no memory of the abuse, 1 has a partial memory and every one of those children reported that there had been no inappropriate touching by anyone since 2003. Further, when asked if they felt “safe at home”, if they had “worries, concerns or if scared”, all replied that they felt safe and not scared. It becomes very evident reading the interviews why the police (the State) chose to not pursue criminal charges against Josh.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      “Perhaps you should have read the 2006 police report”… The purpose of the article is clearly stated. I made no comment on how the Duggar case was handled. My comments, rather, were intended to challenge everyone to affirm the things that we can agree on in this. Agreeing on those things, I hoped, would help us to discuss these things without being evil.

    2. avatar

      Jeanne

      Jason, Did you not in Point 3 state that what Josh Duggar did was a crime? Unfortunately, the state does not agree with you. It chose to not prosecute him in 2006 for any crimes (and yes, the statute of limitations on criminal matters was not a limiting factor) and last week the police report was expunged by a judge at the request of a victim. That expungement means that, in the eyes of the law/state, the crime never happened. It’s as if it never existed. Josh Duggar was not charged with any crime nor convicted of any crime and as far as the law is concerned, he never did the things he was accused of therefore your declarative statement that he has indeed committed a crime is your usurping the authority of the state to decide what is or is not a crime…not to mention it’s libelous.

      Sexual abuse most certainly can be a crime and your points are well considered. However, using Josh Duggar as your example isn’t the best choice, imo, particularly when the point of your post was to differentiate between sin (the church’s responsibility) and crime (the state’s authority). There are other recent examples of unrepentant, repeat child sexual abusers within the church (Nathaniel Morales comes to mind) that the state pursued and convicted that are more relevant.

    3. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Jeanne, again you’re mistaken. Josh himself publicly admitted to sexually touching girls. Touching underage girls is a crime. Always. Always. Always. This WAS a crime. Your confusion is that you feel a failure to prosecute a crime means they don’t think it was a crime. Not true. At best a fraction of crimes are ever prosecuted. This is mostly about budgets and clogged courts and odds of winning and danger of reoffence and willingness of parties to testify, etc. In an imperfect world, this is a sad reality. But it does not mean what you think it means. Nor does it explain your desire to make it mean that. I can’t judge you as an almost perfect stranger, but I’d be willing to wager that ten minutes with the people you love would reveal some very disturbing things about you and your history. I genuinely pray that you will stop. Stop and take some time to think deeply. About what motivates your approach to this topic.

  42. avatar

    Jeanne

    Jason, you do a disservice to your readers when you do not exercise due diligence in researching a topic as volatile as this one. Had you read the 2006 police report, which is about as first-hand as one can get in regards to the story, you would have realized that the state had already done its own due diligence in finding out the pertinent facts of the situation, carefully and gently interviewing the children, making sure they felt safe, that there were no further incidents in the prior 3 years and concluding that Josh did not represent a danger.

    This was a perfect opportunity to discuss precisely how the state uses the authority God has ordained for it to resolve challenging situations in a way that perhaps the church may not agree with. The question for believers is this: Do we acknowledge the authority the state has as coming from God and trusting in His sovereignty that His justice has been served through the state? If so, then it’s clear to me that church has dealt with Josh’s sin and the state has dealt with his crime and this is no longer an issue that Christians should be debating as if something more needs to be done.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      The notions of “research” and “due diligence” are nonsensical in light of my explicit introductory statements. I do hope you’ll slow down long enough to really read what I said. Because what I said is really important. All of it. Not just the one point you feel you can twist for your purposes.

    2. avatar

      LynnCD

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, because I don’t want to go over the 2006 report and comments from the principals any more, but I *think* the word of those in charge with the 2006 investigation used the word “regret,” or “regrettably” in stating the statute of limitations had passed. This clearly implies they were saying they would have LIKED to have dealt with the crime, but they could not, as they themselves were under the rule of law. IOW – what they were saying is they could not deal with the crime the way that it ought to have been dealt with.

    3. avatar

      Joy

      In homes like the Duggars (Quiverful, Gothard philosophy) – especially ones in the public eye (like pastor) – the children are literally taught to do whatever is necessary (including lying) to protect the family image, believing they are protecting Christ’s reputation to the outside world.

      I personally know another large family with the same ideology in which the oldest son molested/raped at least 6 of his siblings – and the parents KNEW it – and yet when Child Services interviewed them, they all categorically denied the truth. They too allowed it to continue for a long time after first learning of the abuse.

  43. avatar

    thinker

    I just read an interesting brochure about sexual abuse between children.
    A pull quote,
    It is important for adults to recognize that many children will engage in some forms of sexual exploration with children of a
    similar age, size, social status or power.
    Sometimes a child or young person may engage in sexual play with a much younger or more vulnerable child, or use force,
    tricks or bribery to involve someone in sexual activity. While such manipulation may be a cause for concern, it is critical
    to realize that manipulation may not, in itself, indicate a tendency toward sexual aggression. Professional help and
    advice is needed to determine the best way to support a child in managing any concerning impulses.

    The entire brochure can be found at

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=5ttnVbrwG5fLsATqmIGICQ&url=http://www.safersociety.org/uploads/WP075-DoChildren.pdf&ved=0CDkQFjAI&usg=AFQjCNHi5vWAj6DhoY4-QuILaGRWFymO7w&sig2=NIVvVVReU7o8Trt_eXXwgQ

    I have five children. If one of my kids was “messing with” another of my children, pardon me if my first responder wouldn’t be to call the police and have my child prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!
    I’m sure you would do so. While I agree with must of your post, I’m not sure anyone should be quick to rush to the judgment of the duggars or others. They did report it to the authorities, who investigated it, which is far more than most do!
    I hate the show and the mockery of Christianity it had brought, so don’t think I am giving a blanket defense of the family.
    I’m just saying, “Get real!” if your child was a perpetrator in the exact same way, I’m sure your first tight would be that you needed to exact the most severe form of legal punishment possible. Many parents would not feel that way about their own children (both the abuser and victims)!

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the comment thinker, I suspect you’ve read into what I’ve said a bit because the characterisation you make of me is not accurate. You’re dead right that most children will engage in some form of “playing doctor” at some stage to some extent. That’s no surprise and is not criminal. What you quoted correctly points out that the issue is power relationship. And I agree that even where there is an unbalanced power relationship, this “may not, in itself, indicate a tendency toward sexual aggression.” But it is, generally (depending on the nature, degree, repetition, context, etc.), a crime. So yes, get the kid some help. It’s no surprise that unsupervised children will get into trouble. But the issue here is about the sort of culture where this can happen, happen repeatedly, happen to multiple victims, happen over multiple years, and all without the parents’ knowledge, or worse, with it. All of the above is general. But when it comes to Josh Duggar, he was 15. This had nothing to do with “playing doctor.” Would I be quick to drag my son to the cops and pursue “the full extent of the law?” Of course not. But if my fifteen year old son was molesting younger girls would I be cowardly enough to NOT take serious action involving full disclosure and cooperation with the police? I hope not. In fact, I’ll go a step further. Any parent who would empower and protect a son who is abusing others does not love his son. If a dad won’t step in and help a son become a real man, who will? What kind of “love” dooms a son to bondage to their own sexual perversion simply because it would embarrass him. Or more honestly, embarrass the family. No, the only loving thing to do is to help the son take full responsibility and come 100% clean so he can move forward free of the guilt and fear and bondage.

    2. avatar

      LynnCD

      “Professional help and advice is needed to determine the best way to support a child in managing any concerning impulses.”

      I agree. AFAIK, professional help was NOT sought in the situation which prompted this thoughtful blog post. And AFAIK, professional help was NOT provided to the victims. One was as young as age 5.

      “If one of my kids was “messing with” another of my children, pardon me if my first responder wouldn’t be to call the police and have my child prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!”

      I agree. And in the situation which prompted this blog post, the first instance was NOT reported, nor multiple other instances. Then there was one instance outside the family. It was finally brought to the church after about a YEAR of such instances, and was NOT reported to the police then. After three months of no professional treatment, they talked to an officer, told him (according to the officer) that only one instance happened (false), and that the child got treatment (which he did not).

      Because of this, I am having a very hard time believing anything the family says at this point. It has to do with them not reporting in a timely manner, and misrepresenting the situation to the officer they spoke to in 2003. And, a little knowledge of recidivism rates in these situations where multiple violations of little girls occurred.

    3. avatar

      Kez

      If my child was a perpetrator in the exact same way, I would want him to get all the possible help he could – consequences and support alike – so as to prevent him from re-offending and further ruining his life in the future. There is a reason why juvenile crimes are handled differently to adult crimes. But as the author’s sister said, “Stop imagining he’s your son and imagine they’re your daughters.”

      It’s also interesting to note that the Duggar parents protecting Josh from the consequences of his crimes and not fully disclosing and working with authorities when he was a teenager has effectively ruined his life today. He has lost his job, the show, and his reputation. He may not have a record, but his crimes are being talked about all around the world. The truth will always out in the end.

  44. avatar

    Sannetta Marsh

    This was my quote to someone yesterday when asking how we would feel if this was our son and would we want our son to go to jail…”The question is not how I would feel if it were my son…it would rather be how I would feel if it were my daughters!!!” THat was before I read this article so I could not agree more with all your points but ESPECIALLY THIS ONE!

    Reply
  45. avatar

    TB

    My heart goes out to all involved. True forgiveness is possible if it is done God’s way. I am not to judge if that happened in this case and neither are any of you. Many people are aware of the Duggar family and this alone makes it difficult when something so terrible comes out. Yes, they signed up for public scrutiny when they started doing a reality tv show ( I personally despise reality tv shows and think its unwise to open your life up to the whole world to view).
    From what I read about this tragedy so far… the family tried to handle this situation as soon as they became aware of it. None of us can say whether the victims were “forced” to forgive but I have read several comments suggesting this. The truth is none of us know. Several people here have made the comment about the officer that handled their case was later in trouble for pornograghy and such… I just had to laugh…. I’m sure anyone that is dealing with a law officer questions that law officer about his future plans of committing crimes to be sure they are not dealing with a potential criminal. That is really a rediculous argument to bring up here.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family.
    I agree with many of the points made here in this article as far as the matter of crime and sin and church and state. I pray that, first of all, the victims will find peace and healing. I hope the entire family will stand strong in their faith and in the end God will be glorified because He alone can bring good out of bad.
    For those of you that have commented about abuse in your life, especially abuse that wasn’t dealt with properly… my heart goes out to you and I pray that you will find healing and peace in your life. God bless,

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Barry

      TB, you wrote:

      “Several people here have made the comment about the officer that handled their case was later in trouble for pornograghy and such… I just had to laugh…. I’m sure anyone that is dealing with a law officer questions that law officer about his future plans of committing crimes to be sure they are not dealing with a potential criminal. That is really a rediculous argument to bring up here.”

      The point of calling attention to the fact that the one police officer that was consulted was later sent to prison for child pornography (50+ years apparently) is to call attention to the inadequacy of the self-selected “treatment” plan chosen by the parents. Furthermore, one must wonder about the efficacy of the specific “treatment” received. Was a 14-year-old really “treated” by telling such a man how he fondled little girls? “Josh, that was wrong! Tell me more!” Really?

      “From what I read about this tragedy so far… the family tried to handle this situation as soon as they became aware of it.”

      Did you read this from http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8662907/josh-duggar-abuse:
      “In March 2002, Jim Bob Duggar was told by a minor that Josh had been fondling her while she was sleeping. The report says 14-year-old Josh admitted to this in July 2002.
      In March 2003 Josh was again accused of fondling “several” minors, “often when they slept, but at times when they were awake,” according to InTouch.
      Jim Bob informed the elders of his church, who decided Josh would be sent to a program that “consisted of hard physical work and counseling.” But Michelle Duggar later told police the program “was not really a training center” and instead was “a guy they know in Little Rock that is remodeling a building.”

      According to this timeline, at least an entire year passed from the time the “family” (i.e. Jim Bob Duggar) “became aware of it” and the time that anybody outside of the family was informed. In my opinion, that is not handling it “as soon as they became aware of it.” In fact, more instances of molestation occurred during that time.

    2. avatar

      Travis

      I might also add, if you want to take things from the Duggar’s own “playbook” 2 Cor 7 says;

      10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

      I see no sense of earnestness, or desire beyond reason to clear himself of all these things. If he sincerely DID change – they would not have used such halfhearted measures to bring about repentance. Their sense of justice is half hearted at best and EVERYONE can see it.

    3. avatar

      TB

      Barry, No, I have not read all that is out there about this story. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I didn’t know the time frame.

      As far as the police officer part goes…I still believe that is a weak argument …. what do we ever know about a persons secret life in the police force, psychiatrist field, ect…? As far as the people that they reached out to for help or discipline… I dont personally know them and therefore cannot judge if they were a good choice or not. I think there are a lot of people that need to reserve judgement and let this case play out.

      Regardless… they all have my prayers.
      God bless,

  46. avatar

    Ken Hood

    Best article on this subject yet. Excellent. Shared on Facebook.

    Reply
  47. avatar

    marymoo

    Thank you for #1. That’s exactly what I said.

    Reply
  48. avatar

    Jeremy

    I’ve avoided commenting on this long enough, but I do want to expand on 3 aspects:

    1. Jason’s points are helpful and, unlike many other comments on social media, they don’t assume too much into this specific case. I think most have long acknowledged that the Gotthard linked strain of fundamentalism should be avoided. I particularly feel for all the Duggar victims – as not only do the girls have to deal with what happened all over again – but their name is now mud forever. Even anything within their vortex (e.g. someone snapped in a photo with Josh) are copping ‘guilt by association’. The fallout on this story is far and wide – well beyond the what Josh or the Duggar Srs. may have imagined.

    2. Without someone jumping all over me and saying I am a Duggar lover (which I am not), I also wish there was more acknowledgement of the crazy social media response which in its response is a veritable frenzy of verbal abuse. I don’t raise this to stop discussion on the issue, but to declare that there is a second issue he which is also very big. Just as in the Indiana RFRA controversy, the online reaction is huge. I wish individuals and society could express themselves without over the top with assumptions, name calling, and morbid glee. Could it be that some of the loud outrage at the Duggar’s hypocrisy helps drown out the thought of our own personal hypocrisy in other areas?

    3. I believe the reason this is such a public issue, is not because of the crime per se, but because of the perceived public hypocrisy surrounding it. Specifically:
    – The Duggars chose to start a 10 year TV program about their family values after the offences.
    – Josh Duggar then chose to take a high profile job ‘preaching family morality’

    If neither of the above had happened, then this crime would never have made the news. Both were serious errors of judgment. The lesson we should learn is: There is forgiveness for Josh Duggar (and for all of us – no matter the sin). However, forgiveness does not mean there are no consequences. Amongst other things, the consequence of Josh’s actions should have been to decline the show offer and not take a job with the Family Research Council (FRC). While the FRC is not a ‘church’, they might have saved themselves a lot of heart ache if they had not ‘appointed a novice’ or discovered Josh’s background in the employment screening.

    Finally, this will pass, but only once the collective moral outrage online has run its course. I suspect time it will be more of a marathon than a sprint. Sadly, none of the online chest beating will actually help the girls who are victims. I do pray that there are people on the ground who can work with them graciously so they can deal with this well.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Another "Grace"

      Good article Jason, and the best I’ve read too.

      I read through all these comments and finally Jeremy came closest to mentioning one of the things that have been most on my mind but no one has expressed the others. (I have a similar personal story to Grace who has been commenting.)

      First, there’s been plenty of commentary about how the parents handled things, but what I think was one of the clearest, most easily identified errors was to have the TV show after knowing they failed to teach and protect their children well. I have to think it was extreme stupidity to think this would never go public and blow up in their faces and cause their children and them horrible grief. But maybe it wasn’t stupidity, maybe it was ARROGANCE to think that they could have something like this happen repeatedly in their home, have a number of public officers know of it, and police reports made, and it wouldn’t become a public disgrace. They should have stopped their breeding and paid attention to the children they had instead of having more, acting like they could handle it and holding themselves up to the world to be admired. They abused all their children by setting up inevitable national public embarrassment.

      Second, unless you’ve been brought up in a super conservative Christian home that lacks the humility mentioned above, you don’t know what it does to the children’s psyche. The victim truly thinks everything is fine, apology and forgiveness fixes everything, and Mom and Dad are always right. I would have never dreamed of walking down the street and showing my wounds to the police and telling them of what was happening to me, because deep down in my heart I truly believed my parents were right and the whole rest of the world was wrong. The children buy into the delusion that because the family has the truth of the Bible, it makes them bullet proof. They grow up with the same delusional arrogance.

      I believe the long-time reality show exploitation coupled with this arrogance had them living in the unreal world of pretense. Some of the sisters didn’t even have the sense to know that tragedy had struck and they were still posting silly photos of themselves. My family was similar in that my father was a preacher, and we always had to keep up appearances to the point we believed our own lie. All six of us kids went along with it and had no idea we were actually neglected and abused. I believe the Dugger children will struggle all their lives even worse that I did, with knowing what is reality and will have a constant running theme of subconsciously thinking about what others must think, making authenticity with God, others, and themselves, very difficult.

      To Grace, I met some authentic Christians who helped me tremendously and although I have the righteous indignation that everyone should have when hearing of things like this, I have been able to overcome the rage that ruled my life for a very long time. I’ve been freed from legalism and pretense. I’m close to 50 and finally feel grateful to God for His being true to his promise and redeeming the wicked things in my life and giving me beauty for ashes. I pray everyone in the Dugger family will cooperate with Him doing the same in their lives and I wish them well.

  49. avatar

    Barb

    Barry and Travis, you are spot on. This is an excellent article.

    FACTS from the police report (you can read it for yourself here http://imgur.com/a/zqPMi#0 ):

    What Jeanne and others fail to acknowledge is that the sexual violence against the young girls happened in 2002, was not dealt with, and Josh Duggar re-offended in 2003, one year LATER. It was only at THAT point that the Duggars went to the family friend/law enforcement person (who unbeknownst to them was a pedophile), who gave Josh a “firm” talking to but did NOT file a police report. The investigation THREE YEARS LATER in 2006 happened as a result of a tip the police received from Oprah’s people – NOT because the Duggars got the authorities involved.

    Secondly, people commenting on how the girls forgave Josh have absolutely no clue on how sexual abuse and violence of this manner is processed by the victim. Also, did the girls have any choice but to “forgive”? I can only imagine the pressure to put it all behind them, be good Christians, and “WWJD” the whole thing. It is entirely possible that they felt they had no choice. We simply do not know. They were young. It is quite likely that his fingers were inside their bodies. That is something a young child may well block out from the sheer horror of it – your big brother, who is supposed to protect you, is instead sneaking into your room in the dark, and violating you, touching your most private and sensitive places. Unless you have experienced it, you have no idea the psychological imprint that leaves. There is a very good chance this will trigger in their future relationships, and in their marital intimacy. People seem to think this was Josh just kind of stroking their heads and thinking how cute they were while they slept. It was sexual violence, not experimentation among siblings close in age. The parents became aware of it precisely because one of the girls went to them, distraught and in tears, to tell what had happened.

    It was a crime, plain and simple. I only wish the Christian community would come to terms with the true nature of sexual abuse, and stop treating it as simply a sin issue, or couching this discussion as a culture wars issue (“poor Josh, the libs are on a witchhunt!”) These crimes cannot continue hidden within the Church. The media frenzy may actually be God’s way of trying to get the Church’s attention. Please let’s stop playing the victims of a “vast left wing conspiracy” and take responsibility for what we have permitted.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Another "Grace"

      Wow, well said Barb. I have a hard time believing the girls “didn’t remember” anything. Knowing what I know about this kind of family life, they felt more loyalty to their family than to the stranger asking questions and fully believed the family was right, the whole rest of the world is wrong, and we must be good girls and protect our good family. Also, since we know the son was caught doing it again a full year later, it’s quite possible it happened plenty of times before he was discovered again and even little children don’t forget repeated incidents. Also, we know the parents downplayed it upon first discovery or it would have been addressed more seriously, the least they could have done was install an alarm system on the children’s doors and been right there should anyone get up in the night. Since they downplayed it, it makes sense the girls would have been led to downplay it, leading to their “not remembering” either truthfully or untruthfully. With our young teens being exposed to sexual images and language at such a young age through today’s media and phones, the Church needs to address this openly, strongly, frequently, and teach Christian parents how to. Gone are the days of not mentioning evil. Either we do it and show ourselves able to tackle the topic, or leave our kids prey to others who do it.

  50. avatar

    Adminus

    Another cultists molesting children, no surprise there.
    lift the statute of limitations due to the obstruction of justice by the parents and then try Josh and the parents.

    No god gives the state power or authority, that comes from men…

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      While I can’t agree with your comment on the source of authority, I am 100% with you on the need for legal reform in this area in the United States of America. I feel any statutes of limitation should be abolished. I also feel that “failure to report and protect” laws should be enacted where those who are proven to have failed in this regard get a criminal conviction and are added to a register parallel to the sex-offender’s register.

  51. avatar

    Riley

    A point I feel has not been emphasized enough is that this abuse continued after the parents had been informed. If proper action had been taken after the initial report, subsequent victims would have been spared. I skimmed the police report and recall one of the little girls was in tears during her interview. This sounds like she was still in pain years after the crime.

    Reply
  52. avatar

    Robert Boyer

    Really Jason? I don’t know about OZ, but over here juveniles are never placed on the sex offender registries. Juvenile records are sealed to prevent the things that happened here, for the victims sake and the child perpetrator’s sake as well. If you have seen the interview, Jim Bob took Josh to police headquarters and spoke to the officer there. He was an acquaintance known from doing their towing business, he could have very well been sent to another officer at headquarters. and chances are he would have known him as well. I just don’t see the nefarious machinations behind this that some other commenters seem to be seeing. Also, while pretty good, your article seems to imply that this is a current, ongoing problem, rather than a past problem. As a retired law enforcement officer I like to keep these things factually accurate, and relevant.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the comment Robert. I’m not sure what I said that gave you the impression that I feel juveniles should be put on the sex offenders list, but that is not a position I hold or intended to convey. As far as whether sexual abuse is an ongoing problem, it is. Absolutely. 100%. And it is exacerbated when the principles outlined here aren’t affirmed. Tragically, it is Christians who seem least willing to affirm them in many cases.

  53. avatar

    Dcnner

    As the daughter of a quiverful family and fourtime (four seperate unrelated instances) victim of child on child abuse, I want to say something.. I left the home and belief system when I married 15 years ago and it took me 9 years to reprogram enough to try pants in my own home.. Another three years to Pierce my ears and stop wearing a head covering and just in the last year have I been able to begin thinking about everything that happened to me without submitting to the narrative that was quite literally beaten into me.
    At the age of 5 I was shut in my parents bedroom for weeks and not allowed to speak to my siblings after the first time I was victimized.. I was anointed with oil and laid hands on…. I was treated as if I had leprosy. I understand now that my parents were very uncomfortable with everything and had no clue how to handle it. But let me tell you about forgiveness.. It is not an eraser. It is not a set piont in time.it is realizing every few months another aspect of my life and personality that were poisoned by this event and learning to let it go.. It is processing and getting closure, then realizing new stuff when your daughter turns the same age you wrre, and having to go through that process again.. It is getting to 12 years of marriage and finding poison planted in your relationship and fighting for it… It is knowing that the process probably won’t ever end as maturity knowledge and experience only widen my understanding of who and why I am and inevitably leads to having to repeat the process.
    No…. It is not a matter of ‘the victims forgave, his wife forgave so everybody let it go’. They haven’t even started to live yet.. They have no clue.. When they are 10 or 15 years out ask them again…. I promise you are going to hear a different story

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for sharing your story Dcnner. And to all the others who have done so on this thread. I genuinely want to respond to all of them the way they deserve, but there isn’t enough time in a lifetime. I realise that for those who didn’t live through this stuff, it seems far fetched. The mind simply can’t put it all together. But this is reality. And it needs to be dragged into the light kicking and screaming. So everyone can stare. Until we decide we won’t put up with it anymore. May God continue to give you healing. And strength to keep forgiving. And joy in himself.

  54. avatar

    Jeremy

    I wish some people would stop equating or confusing their own childhood with the Duggar’s. No two families are a like. Slandering everyone who has stricter standards than you is dangerous. I certainly believe their are systemic problems in Gotthard’s teaching, but not everyone who read one of his books or went to one of his seminars is a freak. Not every Quiverfull family was abusive.

    It is disingenuous to listen to the victims and eyewitness testimonies and then dismiss them all as lying. If we have reached that point, then I am literally disgusted in the ‘mass abuse’ that is occuring through online forums – particularly at the hands of so called Christians. Truth matters.

    Let’s lift our game.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      dcnner

      was that a response to my story? because of the timing.

    2. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      Dcnner,

      My comment wasn’t a meant as a reply to your comment – or any one particular comment for that matter. Rather, for several days I have been planning to speak up against the growing broad brush statements and anger that is being levelled against the Duggars.

      The worst comments I have read about the Duggars are on other ‘christian sites’ and Facebook profiles. While my commentary may be applicable to some comments on this post, my speaking up was meant to be general in nature and so I have now created a new blog post on it.

      http://teaminfocus.com.au/jumping-the-shark-with-the-duggars/

      With blessings

      – JC

  55. avatar

    RyanGarcia

    As believers we Shouldn’t question these things and need to remember that God created all things in the beginning including evil. Genesis 2:9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground…In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    It’s very hard and painful to hear that our loving God would create evil things but this is what he says in his word. He takes credit for it Not the devil,Nowhere in the Old Testament does it ever say that the devil can create anything or created evil. God, in his almighty wisdom created evil. Even sick twisted acts Like what Josh Dugger did, God created them. So Bow your knees before him.

    Isaiah 45:7
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    So again we see here in Isaiah that the Lord again says that he created evil. I know this makes no sense to our human brains but even the Lord sent evil upon Job.

    Job 2:10
    But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”

    And in Romans We read that All things come from the Lord, even sick evil twisted things come from him. All things means all things not some things, if only some things came from the Lord then in his word he would’ve said some things but he said all things even what Josh Dugger did

    Romans 11:36
    For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

    So again we see here room instead even evil things God wants praise and glory even sick twisted evil things and the Dugger’s are right In their perspectives, they are right to downplay, minimize things Josh did because they know ultimately these things came from God as the Bible says. Not my words people don’t get mad at me God said these things.Genocide, murder, other things we Christians think it crimes but they all come from God in the end

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      RyanGarcia, This is deterministic fatalism. It is heretical hyper-Calvinism. You are teaching false doctrine and blasphemously slandering God. James 1:13 says “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Repent and turn from your evil. God will not be mocked.

  56. avatar

    RyanGarcia

    I have only quoted Scripture nothing else

    Reply
  57. avatar

    RyanGarcia

    The Dugger’s lawyer told them to wait until the statute of limitations expired, smart lawyer’s trick but again it came from God

    Reply
  58. avatar

    Carolyn

    To Grace….the lady who said she had huge holes in her memory of the first 23 years of her life.

    I can remember almost nothing about the first 12 years of my life at which point there was a very traumatic event. After that I seem to have complete memories.

    Do you have any advice about this, or should I just be thankful that I can NOT remember anything! :) The home life was such that there could have easily been bad things happening. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for the note Carolyn. I’m not sure if Grace has noticed your comment, but figured I’d put my two cents in because it’s an important question. First, I would see an accredited, reputable, secular therapist about it. Second, there is little value in digging for something that may not even be there. Especially using dubious techniques such as psychoanalysis and seeded memory. Nevertheless, if things happened, there is likely evidence of it that would be apparent to the trained eye of a therapist. Ultimately, even if nothing comes of it, at least you’d have the peace of mind of knowing you’d looked into it and that if you felt the need in the future, you’d be comfortable to do so again. Some of the worst damage of abuse is in the fear it can create. Anything you can do to eradicate fear will help to foster good mental and spiritual health. Grace to you.

  59. Pingback: It’s Time to Put the Victims First

  60. avatar

    E. J. Kane

    I think point #8 is entirely unfounded scripturally and is adopting the spirit of our age rather than earnestly establishing a doctrine from the Word.

    The assertion that to not glorify sexual behavior and talk about it openly is to create an environment of ‘repression’ which will lead to deviancy, I find to be without scriptural merit. This is the opinion and assertion of the world.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      What I said is that “Christians… are obliged to view sex as good. Our dogma teaches that it is.” That is true. See Genesis 2:24, Hebrews 13:4, Mark 10:6-9, Proverbs 5:15-19, etc.

      The practice I then encourage is biblical. Sexual repression does not mean anything goes. It means sex is treated as wonderful and a gift of God and is spoken of comfortably and naturally because it is good. Obviously this needs to be applied in age-appropriate ways, but it is a sound principle and a biblical point.

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