Did Jim Bob Duggar break the law by permitting the abuse of a minor for more than one year?

A newly obtained police report from a different department makes it clear Jim Bob Duggar knew son Josh Duggar was molesting young girls for more than one year before he took action, during which time more incidents allegedly occurred. By delaying and then only taking minimal steps to ensure the molestation wouldn’t continue, Jim Bob may have broken Arkansas law by permitting the abuse of a minor.

In a 2006 police report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Jim Bob told investigators that in March 2002 Josh confessed he was “sneaking into [redacted] room at night and had been touching [redacted] on the breasts and vaginal areas while they were sleeping… [Josh] told James this had occurred 4 to 5 times.”

It’s unclear what, if any, action Jim Bob took after Josh’s confession. Four months later, Josh again admitted to his dad that he touched a female family friend while she was sleeping at the house. At that point, “James said that they disciplined [Josh].”

Early Duggar Family Special

However, the discipline apparently did not put an end to it: In March 2003, one year after Josh’s first confession, Jim Bob’s 5-year-old daughter told him Josh “touched her breasts and vaginal area.” Only then did Jim Bob consult with church elders and they collectively agreed to send Josh to a Christian treatment program.

As we previously revealed, at least one of the church elders likely broke the law by violating his duties as a mandatory report. Now, InTouch reports several legal experts say Jim Bob also committed a crime by failing to intervene and/or report Josh.

Under Arkansas law 5-27-221, Permitting the Abuse of a Minor, a parent commits the offense if “he or she recklessly fails to take action to prevent the abuse of a minor.” This is a Class B felony if the abuse “consisted of deviate sexual activity” or a Class D felony if the abuse “consisted of sexual contact.” According to InTouch‘s legal sources, Jim Bob (and Michelle, depending on what she knew) could have faced six years in prison.

However, as with just about everything in this case, the statute of limitations has expired.

The new information comes out just before Jim Bob and Michelle’s exclusive interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly is slated to air. Speaking about the segment on Monday, Megyn said “nothing is off limits,” but viewers shouldn’t expect it to be a “cross-examination of a family.”


A few notes: We made the decision to share the new police report information because it is significant in terms of Jim Bob and Michelle’s culpability. However, please do not share any possible victim names in the comments so future searches for their names don’t lead to these stories.

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