The past has come back to haunt Josh Duggar, eldest son of the 19 Kids and Counting reality-TV clan. After allegations that he molested five underage girls as a teenager surfaced yesterday, the 27-year-old stepped down from his position at the conservative Family Research Council and issued a public apology, USA Today reports. "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," he said on the family Facebook page. "I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation." Duggar says he sought forgiveness from "those he had wronged" and "would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions."
According to In Touch magazine, which first reported the allegations, Josh was named as a suspect after he was reported to police in Arkansas by his father, Jim Bob—but the three-year statute of limitations passed after the trooper who took the report failed to follow it up. That trooper is now serving a 56-year sentence for a child pornography conviction, per In Touch. On the family Facebook page, Josh's wife, Anna, says he confessed his "teenage mistakes" years before they were married, People reports, and his parents describe the episode as a dark time. Josh "made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked," they wrote. "We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."