anne mikolay 2012 120“Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stated in response to the recent reports close friend, 27 year old Josh Duggar (TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting), molested five underage girls (some were his sisters) when Duggar was a teenager. Huckabee continued: “...No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility.” Well, it’s very nice of Mr. Huckabee to support his friends, but in this matter, he’s wrong.

Do good people make mistakes and do regrettable things? Of course, they do. Is confession good for the soul? Sure (though one wonders how confession after the fact helps the victims). Does living a responsible life reflect one’s family’s character and humility? Definitely. I agree with Huckabee on these points, but the presidential wannabe is overlooking a little thing called accountability. Josh Duggar molests young girls, expresses regret (after a 2006 police report is released to the public), resigns his position at the Family Research Council (whatever that is!) and walks away? No. I’m sorry, Mr. Huckabee. You can look the other way, but hopefully the authorities will not.

19 Kids and Counting, for those who don’t know, is a reality program profiling Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Arkansas and their 19 children (nine girls and ten boys). When news of Josh Duggar’s criminal acts became public, TLC rightfully suspended the show, and sponsor General Mills pulled its advertising. One has to wonder, however, if TLC was privy to Duggar’s police record before introducing the family to its viewers. If not, the cable network certainly didn’t do its due diligence. If so, shining a spotlight on the family to garner ratings was irresponsible and foolish.

Josh Duggar has stated: "...as a teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret….I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.” Maybe in the Duggar’s sugarcoated world this lets Duggar off the hook, but not where I come from. Duggar seems to be blaming his actions on the inexperience of youth. I’m not buying it. The world is full of inexperienced teenagers who instinctively know child molestation is wrong. That Duggar was not one of them reveals a moral flaw in his carefully crafted virtuous character.  

The Duggar clan is a wholesome looking bunch (ditto other confessed and alleged sexual offenders, like actor Stephen Collins and comic/actor Bill Cosby), but you know what they say: you can’t judge a book by its cover. Parents must be vigilant; television viewers must not be gullible; authorities must not be swayed by public relations campaigns or politicians employing fancy rhetoric to whitewash a serious problem. Josh Duggar is admittedly guilty of child molestation. He should be held accountable for his actions.