Jill and Jessa Defend Josh Duggar Against Molestation Scandal: He Was 'A Little Too Curious About Girls'

by Jennifer Cady 3:21 PM PDT, June 05, 2015
Photo: Fox News

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke out earlier this week about their son's molestation scandal, confirming that Josh Duggar, now 27, inappropriately touched four of his sisters and one babysitter when he was a teenager. Now two of the victims -- his sisters Jill Dillard, 24, and Jessa Seawald, 22, -- are speaking out.

"Well, I think in the case of what Josh did, it was very wrong," Jessa told Fox News' Megyn Kelly during their sit-down interview on Friday night. "I'm not going to justify anything that he did or say it was ok, not permissible, but I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, [like] some people are saying. I'm like, 'That is so overboard and a lie, really.' I mean, people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims."

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"Josh was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls," Jessa stressed. "And that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but, really, the extent of it was mild -- inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims, most of it while [the] girls were sleeping."

The two women also confirm what their father said on Wednesday, that they didn't even know about the touching until their parents told them about it. "We didn't know until Josh explained to my parents what his thought process was, what everything was," Jill said.

"None of the victims were aware of what happened until Joshua confessed," Jessa agreed. "My parents took [us] aside individually, and they said, 'Here's what happened,' and of course at this point, you're shocked."

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"I was like, 'Really?' Like, you know I’m sad. I'm shocked at the same time… I'm sad because this is my older brother, who I love a lot, and so it's like, conflicting there," Jill added.

Jill explained how she came to forgive her brother following these acts. "I was angry at first, I was like, 'How could this happen?'" Jill remembered. "And then, you know, my parents explained to us what happened and then Josh came and asked each of us, individually I know, he asked me to forgive him. And I had to make that choice to forgive him, you know. And it wasn’t something that somebody forced like, 'Oh you need to do this. It's like, you have to make that decision for yourself."

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"My dad explained to us, he said, 'You know there's a difference between forgiveness and trust. That's not the same thing.'" Jill said. "You know, you forgive someone and then you have boundaries. Forgiveness with boundaries. And so trust comes later. You know Josh destroyed that trust at the beginning. And so he had to rebuild that."

As for the safeguards Jim Bob and Michelle repeatedly stressed they put in place to ensure this wouldn't happen again, Jill elaborated, "Not being alone. My parents said, 'OK, we're not going to do this hide and seek thing where two people go off and hide together.' Locks on the doors. You know, everybody's in bed. Girls in the girl's room. Boys in the boy's room. And as a mother now, I look back and I think you know my parents did such an amazing job for me."

As for the criticism their family has received,being called hypocrites over the past couple weeks, Jill and Jessa don't see it that way. "If you go back and look at everything that people have seen in our lives -- in television, you know -- we've never claimed to be a perfect family. My parents have always actually stated, you know, we are not a perfect family," Jill said. "We are just a family."

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"It's right to say, 'Here's what I believe, here's my values,' even if you've made stupid mistakes or failures. If you've had failures in your past, it doesn't mean you can't be changed," Jessa added. "I think the real issue is people are making this sound like it happened yesterday."

Part Two of Duggars' interview with Megyn Kelly airs tonight on The Kelly File at 9pm ET on Fox News. For more of what the family said earlier this week, watch the video below.

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