16 Jul 2015 at 10:23 ET
The entire Duggar family on their TLC reality show (Screenshot/YouTube)
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TLC has canceled its long-running reality show “19 Kids and Counting” almost two months after revelations that Josh Duggar molested his sisters and other girls as they slept.
The series “will no longer appear on the air,” the network told the Associated Press on Thursday. TLC said it has joined with two prominent child-protection organizations to raise awareness about child sexual abuse with an hour-long documentary that will air next month.
TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” off the air in May after Josh Duggar’s molestation scandal made national headlines, but the show sat in limbo and was not officially canceled until this week.
Jim Bob Duggar, a former Republican state lawmaker, said he disciplined his son, who was 14 years old at the time, and took him a year later with church elders to meet with a state trooper and family friend, Jim Hutchens — who gave the teen a “very stern talk” but did not take any official action.
The case was investigated in 2006 after producers for Oprah Winfrey’s show received an email tip about the abuse before the family was set to appear, and they canceled the appearance and contacted authorities.
An investigation found multiple victims, including some who lived in the Duggar home, claimed Josh Duggar had molested them — but police said the statute of limitations had run out and Josh Duggar was never prosecuted.
The 27-year-old Duggar resigned from his position with the anti-LGBT Family Research Council after admitting to “inexcusable” actions.
A judge with ties to Duggar family friend Mike Huckabee, the GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, ordered the police report destroyed after it was released to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request.
“19 Kids and Counting” began in September 2008, and the family has leveraged their fame to speak out against LGBT and abortion rights.
It’s not clear whether TLC knew of the allegations against the Duggars until they were published by In Touch Weekly, but rumors of the sex abuse have circulated online for years.
“Mama June” Shannon, who appeared in the cable network’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” said she was considering a lawsuit against TLC – which promptly canceled her popular show in October after she began dating an accused molester.
Two other TLC reality shows — “Cheer Perfection” and “Sons of Guns” — were abruptly canceled over sex abuse allegations against cast members.
Another show, “Cake Boss,” was renewed in January despite sex assault charges against a former cast member.