It’s been just over 4 years since the Josh Duggar sex scandals shocked the nation and very nearly brought down his family’s multi-million dollar media empire.
But while the public didn’t learn of Josh’s crimes until 2015, his parents and his community had been helping him keep the secret for quite a long time.
Josh allegedly molested five young girls in multiple incidents that occurred between 2002 and 2003.
While his parents helped the then-teenager avoid legal fallout, it seems Josh didn’t escape punishment entirely.
According to a shocking new report from Radar Online, Josh was “disciplined” by his church in bizarre fashion after elders learned of his transgressions.
A former member of the Duggars’ fundamentalist church recalls being present on the day that a young Josh was publicly shamed in front of the entire congregation:
“The only time I remember a kid getting publicly in trouble in the church was Josh,” says the anonymous ex-parishioner.
“Josh’s molestation scandal is burned into my memory because the church fell apart because of it,” the insider adds.
“It was an emotional and confusing day.”
The informant claims that Josh was made to participate in an arcane ceremony with the goal of making his remorse evident to the entire community:
“They shaved Josh’s head in front of everyone,” the source recalls.
Josh was reportedly resistant at first, telling church elders, “I really don’t want to do that.”
To convince him to accept his punishment, the adults in the room issued an ultimatum, telling Josh that if he didn’t allow them to shave his head, they would shave the head of one of his victims instead.
“To punish him into getting [his head shaved], they threatened her,” the insider says.
“Then they told him he was going to stay with this guy in the church for a while and work on becoming stronger and try to get over his demons, like watching porn.”
And it seems the effects on Josh’s social life — and probably his psyche — were long-lasting.
With his shame emblazoned atop his head like a modern-day mark of Cain, Josh apparently became a pariah among his fellow believers.
“Josh was forbidden from hanging out with any of the kids or playing games with them,” said the source, adding he “got in trouble a couple more times.”
It’s not clear what those “other times” entailed, but we know that the punishment did not have the intended effect of curtailing Josh’s deviant behavior.
Not long after the world learned of Josh’s crimes, a second sex scandal erupted when it was revealed he had used the ashley madison affair-facilitating website to try and cheat on his wife, Anna Duggar.
These days Josh and Anna are still married and expecting their sixth child together.
Josh, of course, has rarely spoken of his crimes in the years since he was banished from his family’s reality show.
In fact, his last official statement came just days after news of the scandal went public:
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” he told People magazine at the time.
“I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
There’s no excuse for what Josh did to those young girls, but it looks more and more as though the adults in his life failed him by not reporting him to the authorities.
Instead of receiving a proper punishment and counseling, he was publicly shamed in a way that likely only exacerbated his issues.
Deservedly, Josh has been forced from the spotlight and made to answer for his crimes in recent years.
Bafflingly, however, his parents seem to have been universally forgiven for their role in the scandal.