TLC is looking into expunging Josh Duggar’s sex abuse conviction

In shocking developments in the past week, Josh Duggar was found guilty in court Thursday for the third time for possessing child pornography.

The TLC star, who served five months in a Christian rehabilitation center, pleaded guilty to possessing pornography, though his case is not the one for perusing images of child pornography he was charged with last week. Earlier this year, after a resurfaced police report revealed that he molested girls as young as 5 when he was 15, Duggar apologized and sought treatment.

To help write the emotional apology he issued to fans on Instagram, a former TLC network staffer penned a tweet, describing her heartbreak at the news that Duggar had resigned from the network when he initially faced the molestation charges, but was later hired again after he left rehab. “It is with a heavy heart that I have learned Josh was hired by TLC the same day that he resigned his position at their company,” wrote Bonnie Rochman, a former senior vice president at the network, who didn’t make the tweet public, but later confirmed its authenticity in an interview with People.

“They knew he had resigned, but did not announce it,” Rochman added, according to People.

Josh Duggar: His wrongful conviction should be expunged

Rochman confirmed that TLC is looking into expunging Duggar’s wrongful conviction.

“His sexual deviancy is extremely troubling and that he is now functioning in society the way he is… is both a danger and a risk to the children, families and the community that surrounds him,” Rochman said. “He needs to be removed from that environment.”

The issue is at the heart of an old settlement agreement between Duggar’s family and his victims. A 2010 agreement stipulated that the victims “need not disclose the identity” of their abusers (the Duggars did not attend the courthouse Thursday but testified in private), “regardless of their choice to speak publicly about this issue.”

The Duggars set aside $7,500 in fines and lost wages, and were committed to “vigorously pursuing” restitution from Josh and the owners of the home where he molested them.

Rochman and others believe Josh’s case shouldn’t be considered private any longer.

“To be clear, it is the police’s job to investigate crimes, not the executive staff of the TV channel on which they work,” she said. “The victims, not the Duggars, have the legal obligation to report sexual abuse of minors to the police.”

As for whether or not Duggar should still be a household name, Rochman cautioned fans and viewers against entertainment and non-profit groups showing up with their camera crews “to interact with the victims in court,” though a Duggar family representative said the family has not yet decided if the parents and sons will report TLC to the police.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Jeremy Duggar, Josh’s younger brother, said he doesn’t know if his family will publicly comment on the sentencing, but says that he is interested in learning more about it. “I’m curious to know the specific reasons,” Jeremy said. “For me it’s more about trying to understand that piece.”

Read the full story at PEOPLE.


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