Disturbing details have emerged about Josh Duggar’s arrest. The former 19 Kids and Counting star was charged with receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. If convicted on the child p*rnography charges, Josh faces up to 20 years in prison.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Arkansas, Josh allegedly downloaded the illegal material, some of which involves children under the age of 12, from the internet in May 2019. He was taken into federal custody Thursday.
During Friday’s Zoom hearing, Josh pleaded not guilty to both counts via his attorney. His lawyer requested he be released on bond and a hearing was set for May 5. According to Fox News, the judge said the former TLC star will need to live in a home without minors if a bond is granted. Josh has six children — and one on the way — ages 11 and under. His youngest turned 1 in November.
Josh’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, issued a statement after news broke Friday.
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” they told Us Weekly. “The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”
This isn’t the first time Josh has been accused of inappropriate behavior involving minors. In 2015, TLC axed19 Kids and Counting after was made public he allegedly molested underage girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Duggar, then 27, said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Duggar was accused of “fondling… [the] breasts and vaginas” of his victims, mostly while the young girls were sleeping, but sometimes when awake.
“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” Duggar added. “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
Josh’s wife, Anna Duggar, has remained by his side throughout the scandals. She announced last week she was pregnant with their seventh child — a girl.
In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Josh’s sister, Jill, called the situation “sad.”
“We just learned this information. It is very sad,” she said.
Josh’s sister, Jinger Duggar Vuolo, posted a statement Friday saying she’s “disturbed to hear of the charges.”
“While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice,” she added.
In addition to prison time, Josh faces fines up to $250,000 on each count.