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The former reality star was convicted on charges of sending and receiving material depicting the sexual abuse of children, and he now faces as much as 20 years in prison, plus fines of up to $250,000 for each count. It's a stunning development for someone that TLC audiences first met more than a decade ago on reality shows such as 19 Kids and Counting.
Understandably, his family members had mixed emotions. They were glad the trial had come to an end and expressed support for Josh's wife, Anna, and their seven children, who range in age from a newborn to a teenager.
Josh's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, addressed the subject on the family's official website: "This entire ordeal has been very grievous. Today, God's grace, through the love and prayers of so many, has sustained us. Our hearts and prayers are with anyone who has ever been harmed through CSAM (child sex abuse material). In the days ahead, we will do all we can to surround our daughter-in-law Anna and their children with love and support. As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children. In each of life's circumstances, we place our trust in God. He is our source of strength and refuge. Thank you for your prayers."
Meanwhile, one of Josh's sisters, Jill Duggar Dillard, and her husband, Derick Dillard, shared their own reactions.
"Today was difficult for our family," they began. "Our hearts go out to the victims of child abuse or any kind of exploitation. We are thankful for the hard work of law enforcement, including investigators, forensic analysts, prosecutors, and all others involved who save kids and hold accountable those responsible for their abuse."
They said the jury's decision proves "nobody is above the law," adding, "It applies equally to everybody, no matter your wealth, status, associations, gender, race, or any other factor. Today, the people of the Western District of Arkansas made that clear in their verdict."
"As a Christian, we believe we are all equal at the foot of the cross, and, likewise, we are all equal under the law," they continued. "Jesus warned his disciples, '…[b]eware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.' (Luke 12:1-3). Moreover, '[h]e who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.' (Proverbs 17:15). We have been lied to so much that we wanted to hear the evidence for ourselves in court. After seeing all the evidence as it was presented, we believe that the jury reached a just verdict today, consistent with the truth beyond a reasonable doubt.
"Josh's actions have rippled far beyond the epicenter of the offense itself. Children have scars, but his family is also suffering the fallout of his actions. Our hearts are sensitive to the pains Josh's wife, Anna, and their seven children have already endured and will continue to process in the future. This trial has felt more like a funeral than anything else. Josh's family has a long road ahead. We stand with them, we are praying for them, and we will seek to support them however we can during this dark time."
Both Jill and Derick had attended parts of the trial for Josh, who previously apologized for inappropriately touching children, including Jill, when he was a teen.
Amy Duggar King, a niece of Michelle and Jim Bob, who appeared on their shows, sent love to those in the courtroom and to the victims.
May the juror’s and Judge Brooks seek healing / counseling from all that was exposed to them.
May the children grow up with real Godly men as father figures who will guide and protect them.
May the people who were once in disbelief have their eyes opened for the first time.
— Amy Rachelle King (@amyduggar) December 9, 2021
May the daughters who were abused feel validated. You are truly beautiful and worthy of love.
May there be intense counseling / healing.
May there be wisdom for all those involved on how to move forward.
Thank you Jesus. Justice has been served.
— Amy Rachelle King (@amyduggar) December 9, 2021
"May the juror's [sic] and Judge Brooks seek healing / counseling from all that was exposed to them. May the children grow up with real Godly men as father figures who will guide and protect them. May the people who were once in disbelief have their eyes opened for the first time," she tweeted. "May the daughters who were abused feel validated. You are truly beautiful and worthy of love. May there be intense counseling / healing. May there be wisdom for all those involved on how to move forward."
She added, "Thank you Jesus. Justice has been served."
Ben Seewald, the husband of Josh's sister Jessa, who's also identified herself as one of his victims, posted a response from the couple on social media.
"From the moment we learned of this case against Josh we have prayed that God would cause the truth to be made known, no matter what it was, and that the facts would be followed wherever they led," they wrote. "We are grieved beyond words over the children exploited and abused in child sexual abuse material, and we are thankful for our justice system in its punishment of such evils. Our hearts break for Josh's family and we ask your continued prayers for them in the unfathomable grief and pain they are enduring."
On Friday afternoon, Josh's sister Jinger Duggar Vuolo commented.
"We are so thankful to God for exposing Josh's actions and to a legal system committed to protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty in this case," she wrote in part. "We are grateful for justice. We are praying for further justice, vindication, protection, and healing for all those who have been wronged."
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