Long before Josh Duggar was convicted on child pornography charges, he was involved in an equally appalling child sex scandal.
Back in 2015, fans were shocked to learn that Josh had molested five young girls while he was still in his teens.
Four of the victims were his sisters.
The scandal affected the way that fans viewed not only Josh, but his entire family.
After all, it was Josh’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, who had helped him to cover up his crimes and avoid prosecution.
Eventually, friends and neighbors successfully pressured Jim Bob to report Josh’s assaults to the authorities.
Among those friends was Bobye Holt.
Holt is a former neighbor of the Duggars’ who testified at Josh’s child pornography trial.
At the time of Josh’s assaults against his sisters, he had been dating the Holts’ daughter Kaeleigh.
Earlier this week, the Holts appeared on the “SoJo Files” podcast, where they revealed more shocking details about Jim Bob’s flippant attitude toward his son’s depravity.
“They actually said, ‘The reason we’re telling you guys this is that Josh is in a relationship with Kaeleigh,’” Jim Holt recalled, according to The Ashley’s Reality Roundup.
“Because they had known that he had done it before and they had never told us before then,” Bobye said.
“But because he had ‘cheated’ on Kaeleigh, that’s why we were involved.”
Jim said that Jim Bob and Michelle’s demeanor on that night as “panicked” and “distraught.”
“We were too,” Jim told the podcast. “I went out and just bawled. I just cried.”
Bobye went on to state that Josh began to confide in the entire Holt family.
One night, while babysitting his sisters, he called the house and confessed that he was feeling tempted.
“We were at a friend’s house, and Josh called my phone…Josh called my phone and all of our kids were there,” Bobye recalled.
“Come to find out, he was tempted. He was tempted that night and he was trying to call and not follow through with it,” she recalled.
According to Bobye, that was the night that a 15-year-old Josh molested his 5-year-old sister.
By this time, the attacks had been going on for over three years, but the Duggars still decided to let Josh babysit his sisters.
“And evidentially, after he got off the phone with Kaeleigh, he [molested Jane Doe No. 4] anyway,” Bobye recollected.
“He had been told that he was not allowed to babysit anymore, but I guess they thought he was doing better and they [let him babysit].”
Shortly thereafter, the Duggars assured their friends that they had taken action to prevent further abuse.
But the Holts began to suspect something was amiss when Jim Bob and Michelle casually checked Josh out of his treatment facility so that he could come home for Jim Bob’s birthday.
“When [Jim Bob] was able to just check [Josh] out and bring him home, we were like, ‘Something is shady,’” Bobye said.
“How can that just happen if he has went down there for a crime? And [Jim Bob] just checks him out and brings him home and keeps him home?”
The Holts later learned that the Duggars had not turned Josh over to the authorities at all.
Instead, they had checked him into a facility operated by their religious guru, Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute for Basic Life Principles — and known sexual predator.
It was only after they faced additional pressure from the community that Jim Bob and Michelle finally reported Josh’s crimes.
“Finally I told Bobye, ‘If [Josh] doesn’t turn himself in, I’m going to do it.’ And I kept praying and hoping that he would do it. And he did,” Jim Holt said.
Of course, Jim Bob and Michelle helped Josh avoid prosecution by downplaying his crimes, something they continue to do to this day.
“Believe me, there’s a lot of stuff that was confessed that night [by the Duggars] that hasn’t even been out in public anywhere. Stuff that if we told you…” Jim Holt said, trailing off.
“Oh my goodness, this is just the tip,” he later added.
It remains to be seen if the whole story of Josh’s crimes will ever be told.
But thanks to courageous souls like the Holts, we’re starting to get a sense of what really happened.