I've been wanting to address some of the things I've seen in social media but I decided I'd wait until after Megyn Kelly's exclusive interview with Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar before I did that. Now that this has aired, I'm even more compelled.
I'm not going to re-hash all the details of this case but I want to address some of the outright lies and misinformation out there. Of course I'm not an insider in the case but there are police reports and court records available and if anyone has actually read them, I mean actually read them, they'd already know what was fact and what isn't. I've read the legal documents in this case, despite the fact they should have been sealed to protect the innocent. So with that said, here are some claims I've seen, and what actually happened:
CLAIM: "The Duggars tried to cover this up!"
FACT: In a word: baloney. From the parents own statements they did make an attempt to deal with their son and their daughters privately, in-house, at first. Right or wrong, given the devastating news of what their son had confessed to them, I think a lot of parents might do the same. At first. After they were informed of it happening again, they consulted with the elders of their church, removed their son from their home and made arrangements for him to be under the counsel of a fellow Christian and once he returned home, took him to the local state police office (with a witness) to confess his crimes to law enforcement. They also arranged for further counseling for the girls and their son.
Newsflash: if you're attempting to cover up a crime, you don't tell the elders of your church about it to seek their counsel, you don't tell a fellow Christian about the crime and enlist his assistance in counseling your son, you definitely don't march your kid into the police department with the intention of having him confess all he's done, and you certainly don't take a witness with you. You also don't seek out family counseling for your other family members. If this is the way you're trying to cover up a crime, you're pretty much the dumbest person in the world.
CLAIM: "they reported it to trooper Hutchens only because he was Jim Bob's friend and they knew he was a fellow pervert and he'd help cover it up!"
FACT: the problem with this claim, is that there is simply no facts to back it up. Just a whole pile of rumor, gossip and speculation on the part of those that for some reason, need Jim Bob Duggar to be a twisted, lying, pervert himself. Or, just want others to think he is.
First of all, according to pretty much every media source out there, there's no evidence Mr. Duggar and former state trooper (now inmate at Wrightsville Prison in Arkansas) Hutchens were ever "friends" at all. Duggar knew of him through a professional capacity, and that was that.
Secondly, Hutchens' child pornography charges came years after the fact. There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that the Duggars sought out this man specifically to help them cover up anything or that they knew he was a pedophile himself.
CLAIM: "the state trooper says Duggar lied to him, and only told him of ONE incident!"
FACT: Well, technically it's not fact unless of course the entire interview was recorded for proof, but Mr. Duggar not only claims this is a lie, but states his son told the trooper everything, and there was a witness present along with himself. Again, if you're going to lie to law enforcement about a crime you're turning your kid in for (that you're actually trying to cover up), you don't take a witness that can later testify you actually lied to law enforcement. Very bad idea.
What I do find particularly striking about this claim is that there are people out there eager and willing to believe the word of a two-time convicted pedophile, over the word of a Christian family man. Let that sink in for a moment.
CLAIM: "He's a rapist and a pedophile!"
FACT: Neither is true. Rape never occurred (the crime was sexual misconduct/assault in the form of touching). That crime alone is reprehensible enough without exaggerating it and making it sound as if it was more than it was. The legal, medical, and psychiatric definition of a pedophile is an adult (over the age of 16) with a particular deviant sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children that is recurrent (often or repeatedly). The facts in this case do not represent pedophilia in any sense of the legal definition.
There are so many more allegations about this family and this case. More than I even care to address, that's for sure. It comes as no surprise to me at all that unbelievers are delighting in the scandal. It's extraordinarily disheartening to me however, that even some Christians are taking the same glee with it, and have essentially judged and sentenced them all.
I've seen some cry that civil justice was never served in this case, since no charges were ever brought. This is true, but this is not at the fault of the Duggar family, as they DID in fact go to law enforcement. Yet now, for motives we can only speculate on, instead of civil justice for 1 perpetrator, it's a matter of social condemnation of the entire family and anyone connected to them. Including the parents, and the victims, and all the siblings that had nothing to do with any of it, but are now laying under the bus with the rest of the people named Duggar. The INjustice of that boggles my mind. The callousness, lack of grace, lack of compassion, lack of human decency. All from people that claim to be victim advocates and/or caring Christians.
The fact is, in 2002/2003 a crime was committed against 5 girls by a 14/15 year old boy. The parents were notified, the church was notified, law enforcement was notified, and accredited, professional counseling was sought out by the parents for all affected. I believe Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar did all they could, all they thought was right, at the time, to deal with what their son had done, and get the girls the counseling they needed as well. As a mother myself of 7 kids, I honestly cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to hear this awful news. It's the worst news a mother can hear about her own children, and to add pain upon pain, to learn it was one of her very own children that committed the crime? Heartbreaking is the only word that comes to mind and it doesn't feel like it even comes close to how that would feel.
The only real questions for me now are:
1. Why the real pedophile in this case, (the former state trooper that was notified of the crime, the one who was using not only his own home computer to access such vile and wicked material, but also the county owned computer he used during his time as a court bailiff, according to legal documents) chose not to actually file a police report. I could speculate on this all day, but there are no real answers. My best guess is, what he was hearing from Josh and Jim Bob Duggar was a walk in the park compared to what he himself was into, and didn't find it worthy of an investigation.
2. How did a sealed, juvenile record become public knowledge, complete with the names of minor victims? Where is the investigation into how that document was leaked out to the media? Someone most definitely must be held accountable for this.
I can only pray that the right thing is done for all concerned in this heartbreaking case and that somehow, in some way, God would be glorified through it all. And for all the zealots (both unbelievers and Christians alike) out there so gleefully throwing the Duggar family under the bus, that nothing like this ever happens in their own families.
Sadly in this twisted, fallen, wicked world we live in, statistics are not on their side.