Jacob Roloff Says He Was Molested by Little People, Big World Producer After 'Long Grooming Process'
"I choose to disclose it now as it remains a traumatic memory that needs to be exorcised of any further power over my development," the 23-year-old wrote in a lengthy statement on Instagram
Jacob Roloff is coming forward with his story of sexual abuse.
Jacob, 23, said that he was molested by Chris Cardamone, a former producer for TLC's Little People, Big World who worked on the show featuring the Roloffs from 2007-2010. Cardamone did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In an Instagram post shared Wednesday, Jacob, who left the show in 2019, said that he is talking about the experience now so that he can continue to heal.
"It is often much easier to think about things than it is to talk about them, and so this disclosure has been delayed, but through that delay I have found the fortitude and words," Jacob wrote. "As a child, after what I realize now was a long grooming process, I was molested by an executive field producer for 'Little People Big World,' Chris Cardamone."
"I do not expect to provide details of this encounter at any point publicly. I do hope he is never allowed around children again," he continued, adding that he first began thinking about going public when Cardamone texted him in November 2015, years after the alleged abuse.
"I choose to disclose it now as it remains a traumatic memory that needs to be exorcised of any further power over my development," Jacob said.
"By revealing this, I may be more fully understood and my perspective on issues such as child sexual abuse, child exploitation, and the collateral costs of reality television may be received more clearly. Although, I would have to add that this experience has not solely defined my point of view on any of these issues, nor has it defined my worldview in general."
"This may also serve as a reminder that the experience of sexual assault, in all of its iterations, can happen to anyone at anytime and is a far more prevalent reality than our current social stigma allows us to talk about," Jacob continued, writing that he did not speak out sooner because "a child must process, and I needed silence and time."
"TLC was just informed about an alleged encounter that occurred years ago involving a third party connected to the production of Little People, Big World," TLC tells PEOPLE in a statement. "We are saddened and troubled by this very serious allegation, and TLC will work cooperatively with the authorities. Our main focus remains on supporting the Roloff family during this very difficult time."
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Jacob — who appeared alongside his parents, Amy and Matt Roloff, and siblings, Jeremy, Zach and Molly in Little People, Big World, which has been on the air since 2006 — continued in his post Wednesday to question the inevitable "voyeurism" of reality television.
"I continue my own contemplation on the voyeurism involved in the entire enterprise of reality television — a massive spectacle of drama and pain and argument and invasion, with a little joy sprinkled over, that viewers watch completely dissociated from the complex humans inside the simplistic 'characters' they see on TV," he said. "Yet, there is no inherent causal connection between reality television production and childhood trauma. We are still sprinting ahead with the enterprise deaf, dumb and blind, asking for forgiveness later, instead of asking harder preliminary questions of ourselves."
"The profits were indeed sweet," Jacob said. "The actual experience was more complicated."
Jacob concluded his lengthy post by emphasizing that "all fault lies with the predator, and no fault lies with any of my family members."
"I am certain that this is a positive moment for me, and another step toward a brighter future," he said. "In solidarity with silent survivors, Jacob Roloff."
Amy commented on her son's post, writing, "I love you forever and always Jacob."
"Im proud of you," she continued. "Now you don't have to feel alone and carry this around anymore."
Jacob and wife Isabel Sofia Rock were married in a rustic, farmhouse ceremony in September 2019.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.