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The former stars of the canceled TLC show 19 Kids and Counting spoke out on Friday about their son’s arrest on federal child pornography charges.
Jim Bob Dugger and wife Michelle Dugger affirmed their love for eldest son Josh and thanked fans for “your continued prayers,” but they also said they hoped “the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner.”
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Here is the statement in full:
We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. 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.
See the statement on the Duggar Family website here.
The first count alleges Josh “knowingly received child pornography … between on or about May 14, 2019, and on or about May 16, 2019.” The charges are federal because they involve transmission of images across state lines, whether by mail, Internet or other means.
Josh Duggar, 33, reportedly declined to have the charges read aloud when he appeared before court via Zoom on Friday. His attorney pleaded “not guilty to both counts” on his behalf.
The second charge is for possession of “including images of minors under the age of 12 that had been mailed, and shipped and transported using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce.”
Duggar’s attorney requested his release on bond. The presiding federal judge informed Duggar that if he is eligible for release on bond, he would have to reside with a third-party custodian and cannot be in the presence of minors. A hearing set to determine whether he will be released is scheduled for May 5.
A trial date for his case was set for July 6, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 1.
Read the court documents here.
In mid-May 2015, Duggar apologized for “wrongdoing” after a police report surfaced that indicated he was investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. His sisters Jill, 25, and Jessa, 24, said at the time they had been two of the victims. Shortly thereafter, TLC suspended and then canceled 19 Kids and Counting.
At that time, according to reports, his parents Jim Bob and Michelle said, “When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.”
Later that same year, there were reports that the married Duggar was active on Ashley Madison, a cheating web site for married people. Duggar then said he was addicted to pornography. He also admitted he cheated on wife Anna, with whom he has six children.
Last week, Anna posted a video announcing the two were expecting child number seven, a girl. The Duggars have been married since 2008.
Posting a photo last year to Instagram of herself, Josh and his parents, Anna wrote: “It means the world to have parents that unconditionally love us and who are there to encourage us along life’s way.”
The Duggar family now consists of 19 kids, eight sons- and daughters-in-law and 20 grandchildren.