Rick Santorum ‘Sickened’ by Josh Duggar Molestation Allegations

SUZAN CLARKE

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he was “sickened” by allegations that reality TV star Josh Duggar molested underage girls when he was a teenager.

In an interview that aired today on "Good Morning America," ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania for his reaction to the story that broke last week about the “19 Kids and Counting” star.

“I was sickened by it. I was just sickened by it,” Santorum, a Christian conservative who had the support of the Duggar family during his first presidential campaign in 2012, said. “I pray for those girls in particular.”

He added: “To have gone through that is … just hard to think about.”

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Josh Duggar: Mike Huckabee Defends the '19 Kids and Counting' Star

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Duggar, 27, responded to the allegations last Thursday by labeling his own actions “inexcusable.”

Santorum’s comments stand in contrast to those of former Arkansas governor and fellow Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who has come to Duggar’s defense.

"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," Huckabee, who is a close friend of the Duggar family, wrote Friday in a post on Facebook. "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."

According to a report from In Touch magazine, Duggar was investigated in 2006 for inappropriately touching minors when he was a teenager. The Springdale Police Department in Arkansas investigated the matter.

In a statement, Duggar -- who was 14 at the time of the first alleged misconduct -- said he "would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions."

"I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling," he added. "I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."

According to In Touch, Michelle Duggar told police that Josh had not been treated by a certified counselor.

Duggar was never charged with a crime. He is now married with children of his own.

In the wake of the public outcry over the report, TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” from its schedule.