Josh Duggar, who has been charged receiving and possessing child sexual abuse images, previously went to a Christian treatment center for addiction
Josh Duggar may be heading to prison for allegedly receiving and possessing child sexual abuse images, but when he confessed to having a pornography ‘addiction’ in 2015, he addressed the problem privately by checking into a Christian treatment center for addiction.
Now 33, Josh had just welcomed his fourth child when he publicly admitted to ‘a secret addiction’ of ‘viewing pornography on the Internet’ — which, at the time, was presumed to involve only adult imagery — and was promptly flown to the Reformers Unanimous residential treatment center in Rockford, Illinois.
Josh spent six months in a shared room at the $7,500-per-month facility with no access to email or cell phones, and passed his time in prayer, reading the Bible, and attending mandatory church services and meetings.
But though the program aims to help people nurture ‘the relationship with Christ necessary to enjoy their freedom from the power of sin,’ one of its own former counselors, Pastor Jack Allen Schaap, had pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal sexual assault stemming from the statutory rape of an underage girl on multiple occasions.
Josh checked into the treatment center in August of 2015 after a leak of user information for the cheating website Ashley Madison was found to include Josh’s name.
At the time, he admitted to being unfaithful and watching pornography, saying he was ‘ashamed’ of his ‘double life’ and ‘personal failings.’
Confession: Josh publicly admitted to ‘a secret pornography addiction’ in 2015 and was flown to the Reformers Unanimous residential treatment center in Rockford, Illinois
Days later, his parents released a statement saying that Josh had ‘checked himself into a long-term treatment center.’
‘For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change,’ they wrote.
While they didn’t confirm the name of the facility, Gawker reported that a plane owned by Duggar Aviation — which was usually flown by younger brother John David Duggar — had landed at Chicago Rockford International Airport on August 25, 2015, and he was believed to have gone to the nearby Reformers Unanimous center.
According to the center’s website, the residential recover program — which it describes as a ‘discipleship’ — provides ‘a reconstructive learning atmosphere where the non-functioning person can be trained in a supportive environment of discipleship consisting of study, mentoring, Bible education, and workplace training.’
Long road: He spent six months in a shared room at the $7,500-per-month facility, where he had to sleep in bunkbeds, and was banned from using email or a cell phone
Schedule: During his time there, Duggar (see in February 2015) was woken early and had to go to sleep at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends
Out: Duggar, now 33, was released on bail on Thursday afternoon after being arrested on child pornography charges
‘This atmosphere can be referred to as a “greenhouse” effect. We help get the student rooted firmly, so they are able to withstand all that life brings to them,’ they said.
While Reformers also would not confirm Josh’s attendance, Tony Richardson, director of development with the center, spoke about the program with People.
‘It is not a country club,’ he said. ‘It is like going to college, but I don’t know if it is as nice as that.’
The center, which sits on 1.5 acres, was once a nursing home and treats up to 40 men at a time, with two men to a room sleeping in bunk beds.
The men are woken up early and must go to sleep at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. They are not allowed to email or use cell phones, and can only watched approved television on weekends or enjoy free time in a game room.
The center monitors communication that patients have with their families, but they are allowed to go out with family members on weekends after 60 days inside. Anyone can choose to leave the program at any time.
Anna and some of Josh’s other family members flew up for a visit on Christmas.
‘Everyone just had fun and seemed to be high spirits, including Anna,’ a source told People magazine of the visit.
Everyone is expected to work while in treatment, with jobs including cook, mechanic, and groundskeeper.
‘We deal with everything from a sin standpoint,’ Richardson said. ‘We call it to the school of discipleship. The closer you get to the Lord, the further you get from what brought you here.
In addition to the inpatient treatment program, Reformers also goes to prisons to help convicts.
For inpatients, prices are as high as $7,500 for six months — though it’s possible that the Duggars were given a deal because Jim Bob and Michelle have a relationship with the center.
‘They are an incredible Christian based drug/alcohol addiction program,’ the Duggars said.
Prayer: They are also required to go to church and all communication with family is monitored
Connection: I n 2014, Jim Bob and Michelle were keynote speakers at a conference at the Rockford center and shared pictures from the event on Facebook
In 2014, Jim Bob and Michelle were keynote speakers at a conference at the Rockford center and shared pictures from the event on Facebook, and Richardson said that he believed they had referred some people to the program in the past.
‘I am not sure how they heard about us but we are grateful they have,’ he said.
Soon after Josh checked into the facility, it was reported that it had links to a former pastor who groomed an underage girl for sex.
Home: In March of 2016, the Duggars announced that Josh had completed the program. ‘It was a crucial first step in recovery and healing for Josh,’ they said
RadarOnline.com reported that Pastor Jack Allen Schaap, 63, had pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal sexual assault in a deal with prosecutors, related to an ‘inappropriate relationship’ in 2012 with an ‘underage parishioner’ referred to as Jane Doe, according to United States District Court documents.
‘The relationship started when [Schaap] was counselling Doe,’ documents seen by RadarOnline.com state, adding that the married pastor’s assistant discovered sexual photos of the young girl on his iPhone.
Schaap, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence, is said to have told his victim that God approved of their behavior when she asked if it was wrong to kiss.
Chicago Magazine claimed that he had sex with her in his office during a church conference, at his cabin in Michigan, and in an Illinois forest.
While Schaap didn’t work at the treatment center that house Josh, he did bring the Reformers Unanimous program to his own parish, the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana.
When Josh sought treatment, though, a sermon by Schaap remained on a list recommended ‘heartily’ by Reformers Unanimous to its students.
Josh also set off some alarm bells at the start of his treatment when there was speculation that he wasn’t taking part in all of the requirements, including attending church.
RadarOnline reported about a week into his stay that worshippers at North Love Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the rehab facility, saw no sign of Josh.
The men enrolled in the treatment program are required to attend church twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as go to a program chapter meeting held at the church every Friday.
They are driven to the church in a white school bus and must enter via a basement door.
But an eyewitness claimed Josh ‘definitely wasn’t there’ the first Friday he was in treatment.
Trouble: A pastor affiliated with the recovery program, Jack Allen Schaap, pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal sexual assault stemming from the statutory rape of an underage girl
Disgusting: Schaap, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence, is said to have told his victim that God approved of their behavior when she asked if it was wrong to kiss
Finally, in March of 2016, the Duggars announced on their family website that Josh had completed the program.
‘It was a crucial first step in recovery and healing for Josh. Josh has now returned to Arkansas, where he will continue professional counseling and focus on rebuilding relationships with his family,’ they said.
Josh had also gone to a different faith-based rehab facility in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2003 after his parents learned that he had molested four of his little sisters.
He spent three months in the facility, which was owned by the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a Christian ministry and training program founded by Bill Gothard, a Duggar family friend.
While little has been revealed about the program, people associated with IBLP have claimed that Josh was required to do manual labor and was not allowed to speak during that time.
He was also allegedly required to shave his head — the results of which can be seen in the Duggars’ first TV special on Discovery Health, 14 Children and Pregnant Again.
‘If people look back to when Josh was bald on the show, it was because he was being “rehabilitated,”‘ a tipster told Gawker in 2015. ‘The head-shaving was part of the shaming process.’
The source added: ‘When Josh returned from his “porn rehab” he was brought before the church. After Josh gave his “testimony,” his sisters came up and hugged him and I remember seeing huge, confused tears streaming down their faces.”