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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Emily Horowitz: In Defense of Josh Duggar’s Parents: It's No Secret Why a Mother and Father Would Hesitate Before Reporting a Child to Police on Sex Abuse Allegations

 
Update:

Did the Duggars do the right thing? June 5, 2015
Emily Horowitz is interviewed by Fox anchor Megyn Kelly
 

Original Post:
In defense of Josh Duggar’s parents: It's no secret why a mother and father would hesitate before reporting a child to police on sex abuse allegations, May 31, 2015
By Emily Horowitz

When I learned that, more than a decade ago, reality-TV star Josh Duggar avoided jail after his parents dealt with molestation charges via church and family contacts, it made me think about the men I interviewed for my book about our draconian sex-offender laws. 

As a 14-year-old back in about 2002, Duggar fondled at least five girls in his family home — and his parents decided against taking him to the public authorities. 

The case reminded me of Josh Gravens — who, like Josh Duggar, was from a conservative Christian homeschooling family, with parents who turned to their church after learning their 13-year-old inappropriately touched his younger sisters. 

In Gravens’ case, the church reported him to police, and he was sent to prison for over three years. Released at 17, Gravens then spent a decade on the public sex-offender registry. Today, at 28, he has never re-offended. Yet he is still required to update police when moving, and is now facing up to 25 years in prison — for registering a new address a week late. 

As a researcher trying to understand widespread and exaggerated fears of sex offenders, I have a different perspective than those enraged at the Duggars for not turning to law enforcement or therapists (many counselors are mandated reporters, like the Christian counselor who reported Gravens to police). 

While most express disbelief and anger about the response of the Duggars, I understand why they bent over backward to keep their son from being chewed up by the cops and courts.