Christian reality television star Josh Duggar’s family said they are terrified that he may commit suicide because of the severe depression that has stemmed from his child molestation scandal. Sources said Duggar is devastated that the expose of his childhood sex scandal may have damaged his reputation forever.
“Josh has seen his world and his family’s world crumble,” said the source. “And he knows that it’s all his fault. He can never rebound himself from this. He is hiding away, leaving his loved ones fearing the worst: [that] he will do something drastic.”
Reportedly, Duggar has become a recluse ever since news of his child molestation scandal emerged in May this year. Having hidden for weeks, Duggar briefly revealed himself on Father’s Day to thank his father Jim Bob for being there for him through thick and thin via a video clip that was posted on June 21. Duggar also went on to wish his wife Anna happy birthday and celebrate their seven-year-long marriage on June 23.
Despite having put up a brave face in public, sources from within his own family claim that Duggar has been suffering from severe depression and thus isolated himself at home. They fear he may kill himself because of the guilt he has been made to feel over his past misdeeds and the shame that he believes he has brought upon his entire family.
“The longer he stays isolated, the more depressed he gets,” said the family member. “That has his loved ones terrified for him. They fear that shame is too much.”
27-year-old Duggar, his parents Jim Bob and Michelle and their hit television reality show ‘19 Kids and Counting’ have been under the scanner for weeks now amidst reports that Duggar had sexually fondled as many as six underage girls, including his own sisters Jill and Jessa, when he was 14 years old. According to a police report unraveled by celebrity gossip and entertainment news website InTouchWeekly, Duggar fondled the girls’ genitals and breasts, sometimes when they were asleep. His father waited for over a year —after Duggar confessed to being a child molester multiple times— before finally contacting the police. Up until that point, Jim Bob and Michelle reportedly sought advice from elders at their church to figure out the best course of action.
While the police started to receive criminal complaints against Duggar’s molestation from his other victims in 2006, Jim Bob told authorities that his son had already apologized to the victims and they had apparently forgiven him.
Duggar’s own sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald had earlier revealed that they were both victims of his childhood molestation but they also clarified that they had forgiven him for his crime, reiterating how furious they are at the media for having exaggerated and misreported their sexual abuse. They insisted that their brother is not a rapist, an image they believe the media has been trying to portray for a very long time.
“I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist,” said Jessa. “That is so overboard and a lie really. People get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”
Earlier, the Duggar’s family pastor, Ronnie Floyd, had said allegations of Josh having molested six underage girls during his childhood were not beyond the realm of God’s forgiveness.
“Everyone does wrong, and what was wrong was very wrong as to what was testified to and it's completely unacceptable,” said Floyd, who is a pastor with Cross Church. “But I'm thankful, whether it's him or any other one, that I serve a God who can forgive everything.”
While defending Duggar, Floyd also said this is not the first case of sexual abuse that the church is having to deal with, and it will not be the last.
Nonreligious political commentator Bill Maher commented on the scandal on his blog. Referring to Duggar seeking forgiveness from God as a cop out, Maher said the reality television star should grovel before his victims instead.
“The idea that Jesus forgives your sins is a real cop-out, and dangerous,” he wrote. “Real forgiveness happens between the person who did wrong and the person they wronged. There is no middle man. There is no pixie dust. The idea that you can simply pray on it and ask Jesus for forgiveness —which He never turns down, cause He's Jesus— is a total short cut, and not what forgiveness actually entails… If you've done something as awful as molest a bunch of girls, the only people you can ask for forgiveness from are the bunch of girls you molested. Jesus is just an easy and convenient way to exonerate yourself by receiving absolution from an imaginary man in your head.”
In the past, Maher has referred to the Duggars as the ‘biggest freaks in the world’ for their decision to bear 19 children in light of a growing population problem. He has also slammed the family for obnoxiously displaying their apparent faith and choosing to live off the teachings of a ‘dusty old stupid book.’
American basic cable and the satellite television network TLC that aired the Duggar’s hit reality television series ‘19 Kids and Counting’ has also been on the receiving end of a lot of flak, with viewers barraging the channel with complaints and demanding that the show be cancelled immediately. While TLC has already pulled the show from its lineup, it is yet to cancel it officially.
Photo Credits: Right Wing Watch