Former reality TV star Josh Duggar, 33, was taken into custody Dec. 9 after a federal jury in Fayetteville, Arkansas, convicted him on one count each of receiving and possessing child pornography, according to the Associated Press. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count, with sentencing expected to occur in about four months.
Duggar and his large Arkansas family starred on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” until the network canceled the show in 2015 following revelations that he had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Family friend Bobye Holt testified during the trial that Duggar confessed the molestations to his parents and Holt and her husband in 2003 and 2005. Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 but concluded the statute of limitations on possible charges had expired.
In May 2015, Duggar issued a public apology for unspecified behavior and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council. In August 2015, he publicly apologized for a pornography addiction and for cheating on his wife, calling himself “the biggest hypocrite ever.”
Anna Duggar said in 2015 she knows “who Josh really is — someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended,” according to a Baptist Press report. “[He is] someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right,” she said, noting he had confessed the incidents to her two years before proposing marriage.
While Duggar’s sister, Jill Dillard, and her husband, Derick, were members of Cross Church, a large Southern Baptist church in northwest Arkansas, in 2015, neither Josh Duggar nor his parents were members at that time, according to a May 31, 2015, People Magazine report.
As the original scandal broke, then-pastor Ronnie Floyd told People, “Everyone does wrong, and what was wrong was very wrong as to what was testified to and it’s completely unacceptable. But I’m thankful, whether it’s him or any other one, that I serve a God who can forgive everything.
“All of us were surprised by the news because … their reputation in Arkansas is that they are a very Christian family,” said Floyd, who also was SBC president at the time and later served as SBC Executive Committee president (2019–2021). “Things like [the scandal] have happened before and will happen again.”
Although Floyd did not mention the Duggar family scandal from the pulpit, the church released a statement to Baptist Press on June 1, 2015, saying, “We are deeply burdened for the victims of this situation. We stand against any abuse of children. … As we pray about this situation, we are thankful for the healing and forgiveness provided through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”