Reality TV star parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting spoke about the allegations that their eldest son Josh had sexually abused his younger sisters.
"There was so much grief in our hearts. I think, as parents, we felt, 'We're failures,'" Michelle told The Kelly File host Megyn Kelly. "You know, here we tried to raise our kids to do what's right, to know what's right. We were devastated."
In the interview, the Duggar parents said that Josh, then 14, came to them to openly confess about the inappropriate touching. The parents maintain that the victims were not aware of Josh's actions as they were asleep in most instances, or too young to understand their brother's "intent."
PHOTOS: The Duggar family through the years
"This was not rape or anything like that, this was touching somebody over their clothes," Jim Bob said. "They didn't even know he had done this."
The Duggar parents claim that after Josh's third confession they removed him from the home to work in an alternative rehabilitation program. According to the interview, all five of Josh Duggar's victims told police that there was never another incident after he had received treatment at the program.
Duggar sister Jessa Seewald, in an interview airing later this week, admitted that she was a victim of her older brother but also took to his defense. She says accusations that he is a child molester or pedophile are "so overboard and a lie."
Josh apologized for unspecified bad behavior when he resigned last month as a Family Research Council lobbyist.
Arkansas police last month said they had destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into Josh Duggar. Published reports from news outlets that obtained the report before it was destroyed said Duggar was accused of fondling five girls in 2002 and 2003. No charges were filed. Police began investigating Duggar in 2006 following a tip from a family friend.
TLC immediately pulled reruns of 19 Kids and Counting off the air when the allegations concerning Josh Duggar surfaced two weeks ago. The network has said no decision has been made about whether the series will continue.
Jim Bob Duggar is a former state representative in Arkansas. Some of the state's Republicans have expressed support for the family, including GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, whose campaign kickoff was attended by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar felt like 'failures' amid abuse scandal