Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard are finally breaking their silence.
The Duggar sisters and stars of 19 Kids & Counting were interviewed by FOX News’ Megyn Kelly about their brother Josh Duggar’s molestation past and how their family has been affected by the scandal.
Last month, Josh, the eldest child, admitted he molested five underage girls as a teen. Jessa and Jill were two of his victims.
In a preview of the pre-taped interview for The Kelly Files, Jessa and Jill echoed their parents words, downplaying their brother’s crimes:
“In Josh’s case, he was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls. And that got him into to some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but really the extent of it was mild, inappropriate touching, on fully clothed victims, most of it while girls were sleeping.”
Both Jessa and Jill claimed they didn’t know about Josh’ improper touching until their parents told them, but Jim Bob AND the police report confirm two incidents occurred while the victims were awake. Follow along below as we live blog the Duggars interview (be sure to keep refreshing the page for the latest updates):
9:00pm ET: Megyn Kelly is setting the stage for the interview and she introduces Jessa and Jill as victims of brother Josh.
9:03pm ET: Megyn reveals that Jim and Michelle’s interview raised more issues opposed to squashing them.
9:03pm ET: Megyn explains that the Josh revelation came at the “happiest time” in their lives.
9:04pm ET: Jill explains that she was inappropriately touched at age 12 while Jessa was touched at either 9 or 10. Jill adds that she never wanted to come out publicly to address the issue but now she feels pressured to come out to defend her family. Jill is coming out for “truth’s sake” and to “set the record straight”.
9:05pm ET: Jessa says she doesn’t believe that Josh is a pedophile or rapist and that it’s a “lie” and “overboard”. Jessa says that she’s the only one who can set the record straight because SHE’s the victim. Jessa casts it off as “mild inappropriate touching” and that none of the victims were aware of the transgressions.
9:07pm ET: Jessa’s reaction to learning she was inappropriately touched was: “Well, this is strange.” Jill said: “You never think this will happen to me…but this was very mild, though.” Jill’s initial reaction was to be shocked and sad which then evolved into anger. Josh then came to Jill for forgiveness and she made the “choice” to give him forgiveness and that she made the decision for herself.
9:08pm ET: After the family meeting about the molestation, the girls claim he went away quickly after.
9:09pm ET: Jill says she was “sad” when Josh went away but at the same time they acknowledge that Josh had to “suffer the consequences” of his actions. Jessa says there wasn’t any anger there because Josh was “sly” about “copping a quick feel”. Jessa says she “realized it was serious but not a horror story” like other girls have been through.
9:09pm ET: Jill says Josh “destroyed” their trust but they have been able to rebuild their relationship. Jim Bob told them that forgiveness is different then trust.
9:12pm ET: Jill outlines the “safeguards” put in place to prevent it from happening again: no more hide and seek plus locking the bedroom doors at night. Jill says she hopes to put the same safeguards in place at her home now that she’s a mom.
9:13pm ET: Jessa and Jill say that no one else in the family has touched them inappropriately. Jim Bob and Michelle sat the ENTIRE family down after the incident and encouraged the children to come forward with this issue in the future.
9:14pm ET: Jessa says that she first felt like a victim when DHS asked the girls to tell their stories. They claim that their parents encouraged them to be “honest” with investigators.
9:19pm ET: Jessa explains that she first felt safe talking with investigators and that she wasn’t afraid to do the reality show because it was five years after the fact. The family had “moved on”. Jessa says that close family members and friends knew about the incident and that the investigation had been “dealt” with.
9:21pm ET: Jill defends her family as not being hypocrites — “We’ve never claimed to be a perfect family. We’re just a family.”
9:21pm ET: Jessa says that Josh can still be an advocate for family values despite his “stupid mistakes”. Jessa and Jill are very adamant that he’s a changed man and that he was reformed.
9:23pm ET: Jill and Jessa said that they were “furious” when they first found out that the InTouch article was coming out. Jill: “We’re victims, they can’t do this to us.” Jessa: “The system that was supposed to protect kids…it has greatly failed. You go to the store and there’s your picture on a magazine. You can’t FOIA a juvenile case. There’s some hokey pokey going on.” Jill: “Tabloids are used to exploiting women.” Jill claims the reveal of the story was 1,000 times worse than the actual molestation. Jill is very upset and still crying about the violation she feels about the story coming out. Jessa: “We’ve all forgiven Josh and moved on. Even the babysitter. I can speak for the other victims when saying they’re also furious about the story being revealed.”
9:31pm ET: Jessa: “What was done was very wrong. I feel like we’re again helpless because the tabloids are sensationalizing [ the story ] and using it for their own gain.
9:32pm ET: Jessa: “I feel like it’s the people who don’t like our family are the ones that are slandering us. If you really feel bad for us you would let us keep this private.” Jill claims that she feels bad for the families who “pause” before reporting incidents of molestation.
9:33pm ET: Jessa explains that after the report was made Josh was a completely changed person and he had not “gone down that path in years” — Jessa explains that’s why they didn’t feel prosecution was necessary.
9:34pm ET: Jill says therapy helped her “move past” the incident. Josh had to pay for his own professional therapy.
9:35pm ET: Jessa: “These past few weeks have been a 1,000 times worse” then what happened in the past.
9:36pm ET: If the show goes away, Jessa says: “Life will go on…we’re not a TV family.” Jill says she doesn’t know if the show will go on but she’ll miss the TV crew that have become “like family”. Jill likens the molestation incident as another “hard time” that will bring them “closer together”. Jessa said to the family that even though things are getting “stirred up” that they should be lucky that there’s no in-family “feuding”.
9:37pm ET: The interview ends on the note that this interview and past few weeks have been particularly hard. Overall, the girls expressed anger over the police report’s leak and that they’ve forgiven Josh. The main sentiment: this is all in the past.
[Image via FOX NEWS.]