Duggar Family Friends Speak Out: Leave Them Alone!!

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Public opinion has soured on them in recent weeks, but the Duggar family's friends are still rallying around the 19 Kids and Counting clan in Arkansas.

Once news broke about Josh Duggar molesting five underage girls (four were his sisters), the residents of Tontitown, Ark., and vicinity, were stunned.

Anger, indignation and embarrassment on part of Washington County's residents were the norm, though others were sympathetic to them as well.

Especially since we know Jill and Jessa Duggar were molested, by the now-married girls' admission, opinion looks to have shifted, at least locally.

"It's tough on the girls," Grace Branham, a longtime friend of the Duggars, says. "When will they stop all this publicity? It's time to put it to rest."

"It's a real tragedy for the family. Everybody I talk to is so tired of it. I think it's horrible," says the school teacher, who attended Jill's wedding.

Lori Bolen, who has known Michelle and Jim Bob since they were a young couple with just one child, says they are always "very personable."

"They were always willing to greet anybody even before [19 Kids and Counting began airing in 2008]. They don't keep to themselves like a clan."

"They are church-oriented but also very people-oriented."

A clerk at the Tontitown Police Department says phones are "tearing up," receiving "calls from all around the country" in recent weeks.

"Some want to know why we released the records to the media and others [are asking], 'Why aren't you prosecuting Josh?'"

The Tontitown P.D. source says that "the victims [aren't getting] any closure" with the furor, and neither is the town. "I just want peace."

Rhonda Doudna, an elderwoman on the Tontitown town council, similarly says that she "just want[s] some peace to come back [to the town]."

Doudna, 50, who went to the same high school as Michelle Duggar (then Michelle Ruark, sister of Evelyn Ruark), has only good things to say.

The kids "are the most respectable I've ever seen," she says.

However, Doudna, who lives two miles away from the Duggar family compound, was "shocked" to hear Michelle and Jim Bob's own accusations.

On Fox News, they strongly implied Springdale, Ark., police chief Kathy O'Kelly had an "agenda" by releasing the 2006 investigation into Josh's misconduct.

The police have defended that decision, stating that it was not sealed and they had no choice but to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request.

"What happened to them was wrong, with everybody pointing fingers at them before the facts were known," says Doudna, a local dry cleaner.

"I still don't know all the facts. But then they pointed fingers at the police chief. That's when all of this started going sideways."

With Josh Duggar moving back to Arkansas following the scandal and resigning his job in D.C., it will be interesting to see the local reaction.

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Duggar Family Quotes

When you've missed [sex] for seven days, you look forward to it even more! - Michelle Duggar

Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls. - Michelle Duggar on saying yes (yes, and more yes) to sex