Josh Duggar Will "Always Be Josh the Molester" in Hometown, Source Says (Exclusive)

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For many, the mere mention of the name Josh Duggar conjures thoughts of appalling abuse and unforgivable impropriety.

Back in 2015, fans of the ostensibly wholesome Duggar clan were stunned by the news that Josh had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.

Almost as shocking as the acts themselves were the reports that his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, had helped Josh avoid prosecution for his crimes.

Anna Duggar with Josh Duggar

After several advertisers cut ties with the show, TLC eventually canceled 19 Kids and Counting, the reality series that had made the Duggars famous.

The network received a considerable amount of criticism for taking its time to cancel the show, and after decision was made, it was widely assumed that TLC would cut ties with the Duggars for good.

Needless to say, many were astonished when it was announced that a second Duggar reality series entitled Counting On had been picked up by TLC.

Execs promised fans that Josh would never appear on the show, but many were still outraged, including it seems, the residents of the Duggars' hometown of Tontitown, Arkansas.

A source who was formerly close to the several members of the Duggar family tells The Hollywood Gossip exclusively that Josh will likely never be able to escape his reputation amongst his small-town neighbors.

Josh Duggar-Ted Cruz Photo

"Maybe someday Josh will get beyond it somehow, but he'll probably always be 'Josh Duggar the molester,'" the insider tells us. "That's what they call him."

The former Duggar associate believes that much of the outrage stems from Jim Bob and Michelle's decision to help Josh avoid prosecution. 

Ironically, the source says, that decision may have resulted in longer-lasting (though far less severe) consequences for Josh and his family than any punishment that would have been handed down by a judge.

"Jim Bob and them kept it under wraps for so long that the statute of limitations ran out," says the source. "But as a juvenile [Josh] probably wouldn't have suffered much under the law anyway." 

Whetever the case, Duggar fans have turned a blind eye to some considerable misdeeds over the years, but it seems unlikely that they'll ever be accepting of Josh making a return to television.

Josh Duggar and Child

Jim Bob is reportedly aware of this, but that doesn't mean Josh is entirely removed from the family media empire.

"If you notice, they're starting to bring Josh around a little more, and they're starting to include him a little bit more, and I don't know whether TLC had anything to do with that, but people are interested," says the insider.

"Jacks up their ratings a little bit, I'm sure."

As for whether or not the family would ever put Josh back in front of the cameras, the source says Jim Bob is too savvy to attempt such a move.

"They're pretty big on not allowing that," the insider tells us.

"And if they did bring him back, they would probably lose ratings. It would just be a negative ... They don't even really like it when [Josh's wife] Anna is on there."

Anna, Josh Duggar Pic

Meanwhile, Josh is reportedly living a life that's very much removed from his famous family.

Having apparently given up on trying to earn the forgiveness of his neighbors and former friends, Josh has thrown himself into a line of work that doesn't require him to interact with the public.

"He's got his car business, that's pretty much all he does is just cars," says the insider.

"He goes to a different church, he goes to a pretty liberal church, in fact," the source adds.

If you watch Counting On online, you're likely aware that the church is the center of the Duggars' community.

Anna Duggar Ultrasound Photos

Josh's decision to attend separate services with a more liberal-minded congregation likely deepened the existing divide within his family.

Of course, it's possible the decision wasn't Josh's to make.

Perhaps the ever-image-conscious Jim Bob didn't like the idea of sitting in a pew next to a son who's strayed so far.

Whatever the case, the situation serves as yet another reminder that life on the Duggar compound is not as serene as it appears to be on TV.

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