Friend testifies that Josh Duggar 'digitally penetrated' girl as he read the Bible to her
A family friend of the Duggars testified in court about Josh Duggar's past molestation allegations, telling a judge that he "digitally penetrated" a girl in 2003 when he was 15 years old, per court records.
A prosecutors' supplemental brief filed on November 30, obtained by E! News, described Bobye Holt as "a longtime family friend of the defendant and the mother of the girl he was dating when he molested Jane Does 1 through 4." Bobye, and Josh's father Jim Bob Duggar took the stand during an evidentiary hearing on Monday, November 29, to determine whether they could testify in front of a jury in Josh's child pornography trial. Josh is currently facing one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The 33-year-old is has pleaded not guilty to the charges, E! News reported.
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Bobye testified ahead of jury selection that Josh allegedly admitted to inappropriate conduct back in 2003, as noted in the aforementioned brief. He allegedly told Bobye on March 30, 2003 "that he had inappropriately touched the vagina of Jane Doe 4 that day and had been touching the breasts and vaginal areas of Jane Does 1 through 3, both over and under their clothes for years," per the brief. Josh told Bobye this because "he was courting her daughter and that their relationship would have to end as a result of his conduct," the court documents stated.
Josh allegedly spoke to Bobye about it again in 2005, when he was staying with her and her husband in Little Rock, Arkansas. "The defendant told her that he had digitally penetrated Jane Doe 4's vagina while she sat on his lap and he read her bible stories," prosecutors wrote. "This rape occurred on March 30, 2003, and is what prompted the Duggars to contact the Holts that day."
#JoshDuggar Judge Brooks didn’t make a decision in today’s hearing for the child porn case. He needs more briefing from the lawyers. Jim Bob Duggar & Bobye Holt testified today on the allegations that Josh touched 4 minors in the early 2000’s. #NWANewspic.twitter.com/ycG5BfSQSV— Garrett Fergeson (@Garrett_Photo) November 29, 2021
However, Josh's defense team is asking the court to adopt an interpretation of the clergy-penitent privilege, arguing that their client's statements were made in the context of "spiritual counseling" with Bobye. The defense pointed to Bobye's testimony that she and her husband Jim Holt had invited Josh to stay at their home two years after her 2003 encounter. "Bobye testified that Jim regularly counseled Duggar during those two intervening years," the defense said. "She said she still wanted to help him. She testified that she and Jim met with Duggar in their bedroom to discuss matters further. Bobye testified that during the meeting Jim actively participated but, eventually, fell asleep—she continued to talk to Duggar as her husband slept."
Josh's legal team argued that any statements made to her and Jim by Josh were made in their "capacity as spiritual advisors with the expectation that the communications would be kept confidential." The defense requested that the government thus prohibit eliciting any further testimony from Bobye. In response, the prosecutors wrote in their supplemental brief that while Bobye recalled saying prayers during her conversation with the Duggars, "Mrs. Holt emphasized that the conversation was not related to anyone's role in the church that the Holts and Duggars attended."
#JoshDuggar, his wife, and lawyer team enter the federal courthouse for the start of his child porn trial in #Fayetteville, Arkansas. Today begins with jury selection.— Garrett Fergeson (@Garrett_Photo) November 30, 2021
All #Duggar coverage here: https://t.co/sv3Tvrdapy#NWAnews #NWArk pic.twitter.com/lkcvIEZ9XE
A 2006 police report published by In Touch in 2015 alleged that then-teenager Josh had inappropriately touched five underage girls while they slept, including four of his sisters, including Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar. Speaking to Fox News, their parents confirmed that Josh, their eldest child, had admitted to "inappropriately touching his sisters while they slept." However, he was never charged and later said in a statement that he had acted "inexcusably" and said his parents "arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling." That said, the judge is yet to decide whether Jim Bob Duggar or Bobye Holt will be allowed to testify during the trial.