The Duggars are speaking out about child molestation claims made against eldest son Josh Duggar when he was a teenager, which In Touch first broke. In a new statement issued Thursday, Josh, his parents Jim Bob and Michelle, and his wife Anna, give their accounts of the events that caused the 19 Kids and Counting family to "seek God like never before."
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh, 27, said in a statement on the family's Facebook page. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."
Josh had been working in Washington D.C. as executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group. He has resigned his position in the wake of these accusations, but his family continues to stand by him.
"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," said Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in their joint statement. "When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."
"We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family," their statement continues. "We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."
Josh's wife Anna, 26, remains supportive of her husband, explaining that Josh told her and her family about his past indiscretions when the couple began courting. The couple has been married since 2008 and have three young children together, with a fourth due this July.
"I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock," Anna said. "When my family and I first visited the Duggar home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even every difficult past mistakes."
"I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions," Josh said of his past. "I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
The Family Research Council also issued a statement confirming Josh’s resignation from the organization.
"Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement to ET. "Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved."