Josh Duggar has resigned his post at the conservative Family Research Council in the wake of reports that he molested his own sisters years ago.
Now 27, Josh Duggar admitted he “acted inexcusably” and said he was “deeply sorry” for what he called “my wrongdoing” in a statement Thursday.
Duggar said in his resignation letter, “In good faith I cannot allow Family Research Council to be impacted by mistakes I made as a teenager."
He regretted bringing "negative attention" to the FRC "and its work to advance the interests of family, faith, and freedom in the political arena.”
Josh is the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 Kids and Counting, and a prominent fixture on the popular TLC reality show by that name.
He and his wife Anna, along with their three kids, live in Washington, D.C., having moved there from the family's native Arkansas for the job.
Before news of the Duggar's underage sexual abuse probe broke, he had been the executive director of FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the FRC.
The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian organization led by Tony Perkins, is perhaps best known for its advocacy against gay marriage.
The group's mission is "to champion marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.”
Perkins said Duggar left “as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years.”
“Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work,” Perkins added of his now-former high-profile employee.
The FRC is known in Washington for hosting a Values Voters Summit, which regularly gathers GOP contenders trying to run for the White House.
As executive director of FRC Action, Josh Duggar would frequently attend these functions and share photos of himself with Republican politicians.
FRC is often the go-to group when the media is looking evangelical, pro-family messages. Critics have even labeled them an anti-gay hate group.
Tobin Grant, a political scientist at Southern Illinois University, called the Family Research Council "one of the major players" among social conservatives.
Of the allegations and Duggar’s apology, Grant said: “This is really going to hurt them. If it looks like hypocrisy, it’ll be, ‘Who are you to throw a stone?’”
Earlier this week, In Touch Weekly published a partially redacted police report taken by the Springdale Police Department in Arkansas 10 years ago.
The report redacted the name of the suspect and alleged victims of molestation, all juveniles, but listed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as relatives.
Following a Freedom of Information Act request from The Washington Post for the police report Thursday, the Springdale Police Department responded.
Not with the report, but with a document stating that the original report and any and all copies “be destroyed and expunged from the public records."
The court order was the result of a motion to expunge filed by one of the alleged victims, and it was signed just hours before the Post's FOIA request.
In recent years, the Duggars have vocally lent their support, media clout and large family presence to a number of causes, informed by their faith.
Josh Duggar has obviously lobbied for his political views, but he is far from alone as his parents and siblings are also active in such matters.
Recently, Michelle Duggar led a campaign to repeal a Fayetteville, Ark., ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination based on gender identity.
The Duggars, who endorsed Mike Huckabee for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, have been linked to the “Quiverfull” movement.
One of the principles of said movement is to have as many children as God will give them ... clearly they've taken that to heart over the years.
Many Quiverfull-style families opt to homeschool their children (the Duggars do this), who are thus raised in the belief system of their parents.
The Duggar family has previously promoted the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a conservative organization.
Gothard resigned from the group he founded in 2014, following allegations of sexual harassment, molestation, and failing to report child abuse.
TLC has so far declined to comment on the allegations against Josh, his apology, or the network’s future plans for the series, a spokesperson said.
However, as news of the scandal, apology and FRC resignation swirled last night ... TLC somehow broadcast a 19 Kids and Counting marathon.