Let me get this out-of-the-way right off the bat: Some people are going to disagree with me and I realize that. I am just posting/voicing my personal “perception” in the true spirit of my blog’s name. Let me also say that I do not, in any way, agree with the beliefs of the Duggars’. The discussion on the major differences of belief/opinion is better left to be the subject of a different blog. It is unfortunate that members of the Duggar family, Josh included, have been outspoken on the issues of homosexuality and the lives of others. Indeed, Josh’s’ work with the “Family Research Council” is part of the reason he is in the news with this. The “Family research Council” is an organization that lobbies against LGBT rights such as same-sex marriage and gay people/families adopting children and abortion, divorce and embryonic stem cell research. Again, another blog post would be the best place to discuss those things… maybe a few posts.
Many of the Duggar supporters say “he was just 14 and they dealt with the situation as they knew best”. In fact I just read that a Texas Pastor’s wife said something like (not a direct quote) “he was just playing doctor”. Just as many, if not more, detractors say it’s a despicable act and he should be vilified for it.
This is where I’m going to get people giving me the “pug” look — also known at the “RCA Victor Dog Look”…..
He was just 14. Yes, he was old enough to know better, but at the age of trying to figure life out. One of my first jobs in my legal career was as a Paralegal/Investigator at a Criminal Defense firm. We dealt with all kinds of crimes, but one of the areas was sex crimes. Adults and teens being charged with sexual assault. To this day I still get people asking how I could have worked for “those people”. I’ll tell you. Sometimes our clients were innocent. If you or a family member are accused of such a crime, and you are innocent, wouldn’t you want to have the best defense possible? That’s not to say that some of the clients were not guilty. Some were. The firm I worked at also made a point of getting counseling for the clients. Sexual abuse is a sickness. I firmly believe this. I am certain most people would not advocate that someone with Cancer or other illness be put to death or sent to jail with no care for how they would be dealt with there. It is the same with many sexual abuse cases. Before you jump all over me for this opinion, let me also say that there are exceptions to the rule. There have been cases of pedophiles who stalked their victims and did unimaginable acts with/to them. I do not defend those people. But I DO defend the practice of getting psychiatric help for those who are guilty of sex crimes — especially with children. I have seen this course of action turn out to be beneficial to all involved.
Which brings me back to Josh Duggar. I worked with a client who, at a similar age to Josh Duggar, was “playing doctor” with a cousin. This young man went immediately into counseling, and spent some time in juvenile detention. After his release, this young man went on to be an upstanding citizen with no further troubles with the law, save for a driving ticket. He worked hard in school and worked at a retail store for 10 years moving through the organization to become a manager. I helped him with the expungement of his records so that he could get a union job as an apprentice. He is a wonderful young man. I saw him just a few years ago and he is continuing to do very well with his life. If I were only 20 years younger and so inclined! 🙂 My point is this: not every 14-year-old who sexually fondles others of his age are going to grow up to be pedophiles. Not all sexual abusers are bad people. There IS the possibility of rehabilitation.
Josh Duggar’s family purported to “deal with the problem” alone before going to the authorities — albeit an unscrupulous person who was later convicted of possession of child pornography. Whether they actually sent him to a “camp” or to a friend’s home where he was forced to do “hard labor” was the way the Duggar’s felt they needed to go to rehabilitate him. He is now an adult with a family. Some would like to believe that he has been rehabilitated and others would not. Bottom line is that he is, in fact, now an adult. He is removed by years from the incident that he has admitted to. He has apologized to the victims, so it has been written. Is he forgiven by his God? That’s something between Josh and his God. Do I think he should be released from his job because of his actions? If it happened today, absolutely. That it happened 9 years ago, no. If there are further incidences of this type of behavior that have happened since, and certainly in recent years, then yes, he should lose his job given the values of the organization.
The problem here is that he is in the public eye with his family being a reality tv show and such ultra religious people who put forth their religious beliefs as a standard that many should live by, and such staunch opponents of any behaviors that don’t follow their beliefs. That makes this whole thing a slippery slope.
The unfortunate fallout from all this is not with Josh losing his job or TLC possibly cancelling the show (they have pulled it not officially cancelled yet), it is the fact that the victims have to be subjected to it again. And because it’s being played out in such a public fashion, the victims (his sisters among them) have to be reminded of the abuse over and over. As the victim of molestation as a child myself, I can empathise with these girls. It’s not easy to be reminded of this past. I was 14 when the second round of molestation happened at the hands of someone I trusted and loved, and it took me quite a few years to realize that at the age of 14, and certainly at the age of 4 or 5 the first go round, I was not the one to blame. The difference, I suppose, is that I was a 14-year-old victim and Josh was a 14-year-old “predator”. Certainly he knew better — one would hope that his religious upbringing would have taught him so, but he was not an “adult” and his maturity was not fully developed.
Am I making excuses for Josh Duggar? I suppose it could be construed as such, but I’m not trying to. I am merely saying that unless we find out about some more current transgressions, who he is not is not the same person he was at age 14 and that needs to be taken into account.