A jury found Josh Duggar guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography. The former 19 Kids and Counting star and former executive director of the Family Research Council’s PAC downloaded material that depicted the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” he said. “I hurt others, including my family and close friends. 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. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
While criminal charges were not pushed then, Josh was forced to resign from his position at the Family Research Council.
The Duggar family rose to fame in 2008 when their show, then called 17 Kids and Counting, premiered on TLC. The show offered a glimpse into the life of a conservative Christian family. The Duggars are Baptists, though they align themselves theologically with the Quiverfull movement, which believes that big families are a blessing from God. As the show was airing, and certainly in the years since its cancellation, the Duggars have had to weather their fair share of controversy, specifically surrounding Josh’s actions.
Two sisters, Jessa and Jill Duggar, have attempted to speak out against Josh’s actions, though they remain fairly tight-lipped about sharing too much information. Jesse Duggar has stated before in a YouTube video that she is not on the best terms with her family. And in a joint statement, Jill (nee Duggar) and her husband Derick Dillard shared their thoughts on the verdict: “Nobody is above the law.”
They stated they are thankful for the hard work of all who are “involved who save kids and hold accountable those responsible for their abuse” and that “this trial has felt more like a funeral than anything else.”
Jim Bob Duggar is currently running in a special election for a vacant state Senate seat in northwest Arkansas. It’s unclear how his son’s charges will affect his campaign.
Josh faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count when he’s sentenced at a later date.