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In its relatively short history, the world of reality television has been witness to countless scandals.

But none shocked and horrified quite so many as the strange, nauseating story of Josh Duggar.

After years of appalling reports about his predatory behavior, Josh was convicted in December of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Last month, he was sentenced to 11 and a half years in federal prison.

Josh Duggar, Anna Duggar, and Kids in 2017

Almost as shocking as Josh’s crimes was the rampant complicity that allowed him to get away with so much for so long.

While still in his teens, Josh molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.

His parents knew about these crimes and went to great lengths to help their son evade prosecution.

When news of the attacks went public in 2015, the Duggars suffered only minor damage to their professional prospects, as TLC execs shockingly allowed the family to remain on television.

By this time, TLC and its parent company Discovery had been partnered with the Duggars for nearly a decade.

And even reports of child molestation and a coordinated cover-up couldn’t convince Discovery execs to end their business relationship with the Duggars.

Josh and Anna Duggar and Fam

But while no one from that organization has come forward to accept responsibility for boosting this deeply damaged family, a writer named Andrea Cooper has penned a compelling essay in which she admits to feeling guilty for the small role she played in the rise of the Duggars.

“The Duggars weren’t famous until someone introduced them to the world. That someone was me,” Cooper writes in a new piece for Huffington Post.

Cooper says that while she was working for a national magazine, her editor asked her to pen a profile of Michelle Duggar.

a josh pic

No one could who was involved with the piece could have predicted what happened next.

“After my article was published, someone at Discovery Health Channel read it and commissioned a documentary for the channel about the Duggars, according to Michelle on the family’s website,” says Cooper.

“That eventually led to the TLC reality show “17 Kids and Counting” ― a show that ran in some incarnation for seven years, but that I never once watched.

Josh and Anna Duggar Get Fancy

Cooper says she was never a fan of the Duggars, but her apathy turned to revulsion following the first of Josh’s many public sex scandals.

“For years, my tie to the Duggars was a funny story accompanied by an eye roll,” she writes.

“I could ignore the Duggars until May 2015, when In Touch Weekly ran a story, ‘19 Kids and Counting’ Son Named in Underage Sex Probe,’ identifying Josh Duggar as the alleged offender,” Cooper continues.

here is josh and anna

“Within a few weeks, Michelle Duggar and her husband, Jim Bob, told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Joshua had molested five girls, including four of his sisters.”

The author goes on to reveal that feels a very personal, very painful connection with Josh’s victims:

“Like millions of others, I’ve felt deep sadness about the effects of Joshua Duggar’s behavior,” she writes.

Josh Duggar Looks Happy

“I’ve thought about my unsuspecting role in the family’s rise to fame, and what I may share in common not with the parents, who are about my age, but with several of their daughters. I myself am a child abuse survivor.

Cooper goes on to highlight one very important way in which the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar failed all of their children:

“Youths who engage in harmful sexual behaviors can be treated, and treated kids are far less likely to touch inappropriately in the future,” she notes.

Josh Duggar is a Bad Dad

Cooper notes that the parents doubled-down on this mistake by allowing their abused and troubled children have their lives filmed for a reality television show.

“Joshua Duggar reportedly molested five girls, not one. His parents later agreed to a reality television show in a decision I can only attribute to unabashed chutzpah.”

“It’s often impossible to know how our decisions will play out, or to foresee how an innocent personal interest story might change so many lives in so many ways,” Cooper writes.

Josh Duggar at a Game

“I tend to feel responsible for everything ― call it the legacy of being an abuse survivor ― and partly because of this, I feel a little responsible for unleashing the Duggars onto the world. But I also know if I hadn’t written about them, another writer eventually would have.”

Obviously, the only ones who are responsible for Josh’s lifetime of predatory behavior are Josh himself and the people who helped him to conceal his crimes.

But the atrocities that took place in that home are so appalling that conscientious people who had even the slightest association with the Duggars will likely remain haunted by the family’s many misdeeds for many years to come.