Mike Huckabee says child molestation is not ‘unforgivable’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has affirmed his support for anti-gay activist Josh Duggar amid allegations of child molestation as a teen.

An unsealed police report this week revealed claims that ’19 Kids and Counting’ star Josh Duggar, one of the 19 children of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, abused girls as a teenager.

Though the incidents took place in 2002 to 2003, when Duggar was 14, the police were only made aware in 2006.

Mr Duggar has since stepped down from his role as executive director of listed anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council.

Republican Mike Huckabee – who has displayed an endorsement from the Duggars on his website – released a statement standing by the family.

He said: “Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family.

“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’

“He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities.

“No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things.

“No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and

The family has campaigned against LGBT rights for years citing their Christian faith.

While campaigning against an equal rights law this summer, Josh Duggar’s mother Michelle Duggar claimed: “I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”

The Family Research Council is listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre – and has repeatedly compared gay rights to the Holocaust.

Huckabee has previously compared homosexuality to drinking alcohol and swearing.