Exclusive: The Duggars open up about molestation allegations on 'The Kelly File'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," June 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: It is a story that has generated hundreds of thousands of headlines and plenty of criticism. Tonight for the very first time, the family that became famous for their conservative Christian values and their 19 children speak out about a painful secret involving their oldest son and the actions that he now admits were inexcusable.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly.

Just hours ago in Arkansas, I sat down with members of the Duggar family, stars of the hit TLC show "19 Kids and Counting." We discussed the serious allegations of inappropriate touching some 12 years ago by then teenaged Josh Duggar.  Some of the topics we will discuss tonight are troubling and not intended for young viewers.

But first, a look at how we got here.


MICHELLE DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": This is the story of my family. We are the Duggars.

KELLY (voice-over): The Duggars, a clean-cut family of 21, 10 boys, nine girls, who from the outside looking in, seemed to live a charmed and sheltered life. The kids, homeschooled. Reliable. Responsible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To keep things together with our mega-family, we're each in charge of certain areas.

M. DUGGAR: Joseph takes out the trash. Josiah, he organizes and straightens the pantry.

KELLY: Self-sufficient. Extremely well-behaved. The family first rose to prominence in Arkansas where in the late 1990s and early 2000s Jim Bob Duggar served in the state's House of Representatives. But it was in 2004 that the Duggars gained national notoriety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you lost count, allow us to help.

KELLY: First, with documentaries about their unusually large family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are the Duggar family.

KELLY: And later with the hit series on TLC that today is known as "19 Kids and Counting." The show would focus on the Duggars' every expanding family, their devout faith, traditional values and strict courting that includes chaperones, no kissing before marriage and no hand holding before an engagement.

M. DUGGAR: We think it's a great plan to be pure, wait, you know, for the one that God has for you, and on your wedding day, you get to enjoy all the physical aspects of that relationship.

KELLY: The program was an enormous hit, drawing millions of devoted viewers. But with celebrity came controversy. Criticism of what some view as their more controversial opinions from their views on abortion --

M. DUGGAR: There's a baby holocaust taking place where doctors and nurses are being paid to take the lives of innocent, unborn children.

KELLY: To those on gay marriage.

JOSH DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": What's really at stake here is the American family. Marriage is central to the family and every single child deserves a mother and father.

KELLY: Or emphasis that women should submit to their husbands. Their detractors even starting a petition, demanding that their show be canceled, accusing the family of gay fear mongering.

Despite it all, the shows rating continued to soar. The 2014 wedding of daughter Jill Duggar drawing more than 4.4 million viewers, the network's biggest telecast in four years.

And then a bombshell. May 19, 2015. In Touch Weekly reports the Duggars' 27-year-old son Josh had been named in a prior sexual abuse investigation. Two days later on May 21st, the magazine reprints what turned out to be an illegally released police reports. It reveals that Josh while 14 or 15 years old forcibly touched at least five girls in 2002 and 2003. The report makes clear the victims include Josh's younger sisters.

The Duggars consulted church elders. They sent Josh to a kind of rehab program and reported him to a state trooper who was an acquaintance of the family. However, no formal investigation was launched until police received an anonymous tip in 2006.

By that time, the statute of limitations had run, and no charges were filed. The day of the second In Touch report, Josh Duggar issues an apology, writing in part, "12 years ago as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others including my family and close friends."

His parents and wife of six years also issue statements. Wife Anna saying Josh told her about his past before they got engaged, that she was shocked but that he had gotten help, humbled himself before God and changed the direction of his life.

The media pounced.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Big news coming out of the cross-section of the conservative culture wars in reality TV.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, TLC pulling its hit show "19 and Counting" about the supposedly wholesome Duggar family, off the air.

BYRON PITTS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: On the show "19 Kids and Counting," Josh Duggar and his family are portrayed there's a picture of wholesome perfection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hypocrisy is so real with this family. How dare they shame the LGBT community. How dare they condemn them for their immoral lifestyle when they are -- when the Duggars are the immoral ones?  I say screw you, Jim Bob and Michelle, screw you.

KELLY: So why would a family with such a painful secret launch a reality TV show and was it hypocritical to preach family values knowing of their own son's repeated sins?

I asked them that and much more in our Duggar family interview right now.

(on camera): Take us back to 2002. How did you first learn that this was a problem with Josh?

JIM BOB DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": Well, 12 years ago, we went through one of the most darkest times that our family have ever gone through, and our son Josh came to us on his own, and he was crying. And he had just turned 14, and he said that he had actually improperly touched some of our daughters. And it was --

MICHELLE DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": We were shocked. I mean, we were just devastated. I don't think any parent is prepared for a trauma like that. And I think we had one way of hope and that Josh had a tender conscience, and he was the one that came and shared on his own even though the others really didn't know anything of his wrongdoing.

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

M. 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?

J. B. 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. And so we went in --

KELLY: The girls all slept together?

M. DUGGAR: Hm-mm.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. The girls had two bedrooms at the time.

KELLY: How many girls are we talking about?

J. B. DUGGAR: We had five girls at the time.


J. B. DUGGAR: So, anyway, he went in and said he had done this, and so we, first off, of course, really talked to him and then we went and talked to all the girls, the children.

M. DUGGAR: It was so important for us as parents to talk to our girls and make sure that nothing else had happened.

KELLY: So, what did they say?

M. DUGGAR: One by one, as we talked with them, none of them were aware of Josh's wrongdoings.

KELLY: So they learned about it from you.


J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. Yes.

KELLY: At that point, he had said that he had done this to how many of the girls?

J. B. DUGGAR: That was to two.

KELLY: OK. But neither one had any recollection of it.

J. B. DUGGAR: They did not know.

KELLY: And what was their reaction when they learned it from you?

J. B. DUGGAR: They didn't -- they really didn't know. Actually, what happened was we asked them at first if anything happened. And then it was after some other things happened that we actually shared with them, and we actually -- but we took a lot of steps. And first we tried to deal with this in-house as parents. We were in shock and we were trying to figure out what was the next step. But really, looking back, we did the best we could under the circumstances.

KELLY: You're saying, what am I going to do? You're saying, he says he's touched two of the daughters, and you don't know what to do, right?

J. B. DUGGAR: Didn't know. Because at that point now nobody knew about it besides Michelle and I and Josh. And so we thought, what do we do with this information? And the girls, we talked to them, and they didn't know that anything had happened because they were asleep. And so we talked to him, we put all kinds of punishments on him, we watched him, like, all the time. I took him to work with me, and he just -- I mean, we just poured our life into it.

KELLY: Like when you went to bed at night during that time frame, were you scared? Were you worried? You know, he's 14, he's having this problem. What's going to happen when we go to sleep?

J. B. DUGGAR: Right. Nothing ever happened like that again in the girls' bedrooms after that.


J. B. DUGGAR: OK. So, we had safeguards that protected them from that. But there was another incident where -- two different incidents where the girls were, like, laying on the couch, and it was -- he had touched, like, over the couch and actually touched their breast while they were asleep. And so

M. DUGGAR: Over their clothes.

J. B. DUGGAR: -- over their clothes. And so it was a very difficult situation. But as we talked to other parents and different ones since then, a lot of families have said that they've had similar things happen in their families. And so -- I mean, this is, for us, of course, this is public shame that our son did this back 12, 13 years ago.

KELLY: When you heard that the behavior had resumed, describe what that was like for you.

J. B. DUGGAR: We thought, you know, at first that Josh, you know, was on the road to mend at first, but he was still a kid, you know, and he was still a juvenile. He wasn't an adult. And so there was a couple more times that he came and told us what he had done, and we were just devastated.

All of these -- again, this was not rape or anything like that, this was like touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened, and it was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what? We have done everything we can as parents to handle this in-house. We need to get help.

And that's actually when we went to outside folks and we asked some very close friends if they could come over, and some of my best friends came over. We talked about it, and so at that point we pulled Josh out of the home, and we knew of a man who mentors young men, and he really helped young men who had made unwise choices in their lives to get straightened out, and he was running a little training center in Little Rock, Arkansas.  And under the roof of that training center, he had Little Rock Police Department on one side, then you had a prison minister on the other. And he said Josh could come down there and actually do some construction work with him and he would counsel him and work with him and hopefully get him straightened out.

KELLY: Some people have said, why did they wait? Why didn't they go to the authorities or go for the counseling at the very first time he came to you?

J. B. DUGGAR: You know, I talked to somebody that worked at one of those juvenile youth sex offender facilities, and he described how they actually take care of these situations down there, and the success rate is not very good.  And so we felt like that going from a perspective of really reaching his heart first would be important, and so that's the reason we sent him down to Little Rock to work with this man.

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 to  make things right with was the law.

KELLY: And we'll going to get to that in one second. The subsequent incidents 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 in theirs 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.

KELLY: Treatment facility.

J. B. DUGGAR: It really had a huge impact on his life. And it really, that was the turning point in his life. And this man really reached his heart.

KELLY: And before Josh went away, you know, in the period where the girls knew, and he knew and you knew when you're living in the house together, what was that like? I mean, what was the dinner table like?

J. B. DUGGAR: Well, we tried to make things as normal as we can, but also, you know, Michelle and I both were keeping an eye on Josh, you know, all the time and watching his behaviors, watching his attitudes.

KELLY: And prior to him leaving, were you concerned for the safety of your daughters?

M. DUGGAR: Well, we definitely put safeguards in our home.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes, and we also talked to our daughters and reminded them about wrong and right touch and about if anybody ever touched you in a wrong way for you to come and tell your mom immediately.

M. DUGGAR: Immediately. And we tell them that you have a safe place to share your heart. And so we were trying to protect and watch and make sure that their hearts were safe, they had a safe place to talk, and at the same time putting boundaries and safeguards up in our home.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. We weren't going to give up on Josh.


KELLY: Up next, the terrible choice these parents faced. How to protect their daughters without ruining their son.

Plus, what happened when Josh came home from his treatment. Watch.


M. DUGGAR: As we're all leaving the next day, and for days and days I was saying, you know, Josh has done some very bad things, and he's -- he's very sorry.



KELLY: When the Duggars discovered what their teenage son had done in the family home, they were faced with several questions including what they should tell police and how to protect their children. And that's where our story picks up.


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.

KELLY: All this you learned from Josh.

J. B. DUGGAR: And actually none of the victims really knew about this or understood what he had done until we told them.

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.

KELLY: Let me move back to the therapy. Because you sent Josh to this treatment center.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes.

KELLY: But was there more therapy for Josh and/or the girls?

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. What happened was when Josh came back from Little Rock, and we felt like the last step was to make things right with the law because he had broken the law. And so we took him down to the local police station, actually the closest one to our house, and as Arkansas state police headquarters, and walked in and talked to a man there --

KELLY: Let me stop you there.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes.

KELLY: What was that like? I mean, how do you make the decision as a parent to bring your child to law enforcement and turn him over?

J. B. DUGGAR: We felt like it was an important step for Josh to confess to the police what he had done because he had broken the law. And we felt like if we didn't do this that this would be something hanging over his head the rest of his life.

KELLY: Was it terrifying?

J. B. DUGGAR: It was very terrifying.

KELLY: What was that like? Were you worried, Michelle, that he wasn't going to emerge out of that law enforcement?

J. B. DUGGAR: We didn't know if they would arrest him at that point or what they were going to do, if this would going to open up an investigation for our whole family or what was going to happen.

M. DUGGAR: And now we were waiting to hear, you know, are they going to serve a warrant, come take him away? We didn't know what they were going to do.


KELLY: Well, since the Duggar story broke, there have been a lot of accusations that the family went out of its way to skirt the law and keep their secrets quiet. We'll dig into that when we come back.


KELLY: How did you choose the person to whom you would surrender him?



KELLY: Welcome back to our exclusive sit-down with the Duggars.  Since the story broke about Josh Duggar molesting young girls a dozen years ago, the tabloids have suggested this family went out of its way to hide its secret. Starting with how the family first decided to approach the police.


KELLY: How did you choose the person to whom you would surrender him?  Because there's been some question about whether you chose a friend, someone who you knew would go easy on him.

J. B. DUGGAR: Yes. I had a towing business for years, and so I did know a lot of the officers around here, but we went into the Arkansas State Police --

KELLY: At police headquarters?

J. B. DUGGAR: -- at the police headquarters. Walked in, this man was there. We went in and talked to him and said, hey, my son has something that he needs to share with you. And we actually took a witness with us.  We went in and sat down and he shared everything.

KELLY: He told it all.

J. B. DUGGAR: He told everything. And we had no idea that what that officer was going through on his own.

KELLY: So the audience knows, that officer is now in jail for 56 years for child pornography charges. Did you have any idea he was involved in that at the time?

M. DUGGAR: That came out years later. We were, like, shocked to read that in the paper.

KELLY: So the critics were saying, oh, they chose that guy because they thought he would be sympathetic.

J.B. DUGGAR: I didn't know anything about this guy besides that he was an officer there at headquarters.

KELLY: From prison where he's serving for child pornography, he says, well he only told me about one incident that's why he pursued charges.

J.B. DUGGAR: I was questioning why in the world he would say that, maybe he would get on parole or something sooner because he violated the law in this case himself by not reporting it.

KELLY: The bottom line is you went to a law enforcement official, you reported it. Josh told him everything.

J.B. DUGGAR: Everything. We took a friend with us to -- because we wanted to make sure that we had a witness that would -- you know, that would verify that we had shared everything.

KELLY: I know you said he gave Josh a stern lecture.

J.B. DUGGAR: He did what he did. I didn't know what he was going to do.

KELLY: Did he warn him the law could come after him?

M. DUGGAR: Yeah, he said if you continue down this path, you're going to destroy your life and you can end up in prison.

KELLY: When that was over -- you think it's over, I assume?

J.B. DUGGAR: We didn't know. A few weeks went by, a few months went by.

KELLY: You're waiting when the doorbell's ringing, you're wondering whether someone's there to arrest him?

J.B. DUGGAR: And then later, there was somebody that called the hot line and said that the Duggars had reported this before...

KELLY: We're getting into that. First I want to ask you about the counseling because the counseling Josh got in that treatment center was that the only counseling he ever received. What about your daughters?

J.B. DUGGAR: No. Josh actually went and had complete professional...

KELLY: The real licensed therapist counseling?

M. DUGGAR: All of our children received professional counseling, including Josh. After this, all of our children received professional counseling, including Josh, who paid for his own counseling himself.

J.B. DUGGAR: It was an accredited professional counselor.

KELLY: Did you feel when Josh had been through all of this, he had gone to the Christian-based treatment program, he had gone to counseling, he had gone to the police and he emerged back into the home. Did you feel that he was a threat, still, or did you feel that he could be trusted at that point?

J.B. DUGGAR: Not at all.

KELLY: Did you ever worry that the treatment didn't work, especially with so many young children in the house?

J.B. DUGGAR: No. No. Josh was a changed person.

M. DUGGAR: We still had those safeguards in place. I mean, there were a lot of things that changed in our understanding as parents with this first child, first son to come to this place in his life, we're like, there were things we learned even since then that I think, you know what, we don't let boys baby-sit. They don't play hide and seek together, the two don't go off and hide. There are just a lot of things we've put in place.  You're not alone in a room with someone else. Always be out visible, and, you know, little ones don't sit on big boys' laps or people that you don't know or even family members, unless it's your daddy. So we just -- there's boundaries that we've learned --


KELLY: One of the big questions this week, how did the tabloids learn the Duggars' secrets when they were supposed to be in a sealed juvenile record? When we come back, the Duggars will share what they think, and they will answer this.


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


KELLY: The Duggars moved on, and in 2004, their large brood began to gain national media attention.


J.B. DUGGAR: My name is Joshua Duggar.


KELLY: Resulting in TV pieces about their family. In December 2006, things nearly unraveled. With the family in Chicago and about to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show, someone leaked the story of Josh Duggar's behavior to Oprah's production company, writing in part, you need to know the truth.  They are not what they seem to be. Harpo studios faxed a letter to authorities and a police investigation was formally opened. According to the now revealed police reports, which as juvenile records were not subject to disclosure, a judge is dealing with that separately. The family told police that Josh had been inappropriate with five girls. Five victims were interviewed and confirmed that Josh was sent to a Christian treatment program. Each victim said no other reviews had taken place by anyone else or by Josh after counseling. Ultimately it was determined that the three- year statute of limitations had run and authorities decided not to bring charges.


KELLY: Ok, so it's all behind you, for all intents and purposes.  Then in 2008, you launched a reality TV show. 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.

KELLY: When you heard that in late May that the story had broken, that you hadn't been given a heads-up by any of the official police involved that they were going to do this, what was your reaction?

J.B. DUGGAR: I said, god, I know that there are a lot of families out there that are hurting, and you know what? This isn't something we wanted to come out, but if people can see that Josh, who did these very bad things when he was a young person, that god could forgive him for these terrible things, then I hope other people realize that god can forgive them and also make them a new creature.

KELLY: Was there any motivation that you know of for this police chief to want to hurt your family?

J.B. DUGGAR: I'm really not for sure -- there's some kind of personal agenda or something.

KELLY: Have you had any prior dealings with her?

J.B. DUGGAR: You know, I think Josh had talked to her one day at a meeting, and he said hi to her and stuck out his hand, and she turned and wouldn't talk to him. She was getting ready to retire, and just even a few weeks ago she said, I'm getting ready to retire and there are a few things I want to do before I retire.

KELLY: You think you were on the list?

J.B. DUGGAR: I think I was on the list.

KELLY: Any chance of you suing her or the city for this disclosure?

J.B. DUGGAR: We're talking to some attorneys about that right now and we'll see. But I think the big picture is protecting juveniles' records.  And I think that's something that we want to be an advocate for protecting juvenile records because the mistakes that juveniles make when they're young should be sealed.

KELLY: How has this -- there's been so much focus on your son. How has this affected your daughters -- the release of this information?

J.B. DUGGAR: I think our daughters have -- you know, they were shocked to hear this. It's something that crushed them at first.

KELLY: They did not want this out publicly?

J.B. DUGGAR: No, they didn't want this out. No victim wants their minor story to be told. Every victim should have the right to tell their own story, not a tabloid.

KELLY: The main charge we've heard from your critics has been they are hypocrites. They preach family values. Josh once said we are the epitome of conservative values, yet they had this secret and they weren't honest with the world about who they were.

J.B. DUGGAR: I don't think you go up to total strangers and say, hi, my name is so-and-so and I want you to know everything I did as a child, and just share about your past. Every family has things happen in the families. Some families may have darker things than others, but everybody deals with something.

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?


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.


KELLY: So were the Duggars targeted by the tabloids because of their Christian beliefs? They answer that question and talk about the future when we come back.


KELLY: What happens to the Duggars from here?



KELLY: So what's next for the Duggars and their show? And do they feel their beliefs made them a target? Watch.


KELLY: Do you think that the backlash against the Duggars has been greater because people object to who you are and who you stand for?

M. DUGGAR: I think some people do.

KELLY: Do you think in particular your Christian beliefs are an issue here??

J.B. DUGGAR: I think people on the outside say Christians are supposed to live this perfect life. No. All of us as Christians, we struggle every day.

KELLY: What happens to the Duggars from here?

J.B. DUGGAR: I don't know if the rest of the family should be punished for acts of our children that happened 12 years ago or not, but, you know, we are fine whether they film us or not. We're going to go ahead and live life and serve god and make a difference in the world.

M. DUGGAR: We're going to enjoy our children and grandchildren and continue on with life. Either way, we're at peace.

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.

KELLY: Jim Bob, Michelle, thank you both so much. Thanks for having us here.

J.B. DUGGAR: Thank you for telling our story.


KELLY: But our interview actually did not end there. In moments a preview of what is sure to be the big story out of our time with the Duggar family as I sit down with the sisters, two of them who identify themselves as Josh's victims for the first time.


KELLY: Sitting here today, when I said "victims," you furrowed your brow a little. Do you feel like the victim of molestation?



KELLY: Before we go a word about our children. One in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse in this country. Three out of four adolescents who have been sexually abused were victimized by someone they knew well. What are the odds someone like Josh Duggar will offend again? Researchers say most young offenders are male and between the ages of 12 and 14. According to a 2009 DOJ analysis, long-term studies have shown that some 85 percent to 90 percent of them never are arrested for sex crimes again. If you know a victim in need of help, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-ACHILD. In a stunning follow-up to our interview, we sat down with two of Josh Duggar's sisters today.  It's a remarkable and emotional exchange with Jill and Jessa who discuss what Josh did to them and how they felt when they learned their story had gone national.


JILL (DUGGAR) DILLARD, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": They don't have a right to do this. We're victims. They can't do this to us.

KELLY: And yet they did.

DILLARD: They did.

JESSA (DUGGAR) SEEWALD, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": The system that was set up to protect kids, both those who make stupid mistakes, or have problems like this in their life and the ones that are affected by those choices, it's just -- it's greatly failed.


KELLY: Our sit-down with the Duggar sisters airs Friday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. We want to hear your thoughts on our Duggar interview. You can go to Facebook.com/thekellyfile, also follow me on twitter @megynkelly.  Let us know what you think, thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly.

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