Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar address son Josh's child pornography conviction
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of TLC's canceled 19 Kids and Counting broke their silence Thursday after a federal court in Arkansas found their eldest son, Josh Duggar, guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography.
"This entire ordeal has been very grievous," the Duggar parents said in a joint statement. "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 Sexual 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," they continued. "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."
Josh, 33, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each of two counts when he's sentenced, which will take place in about four months, according to the Associated Press.
Justin Gelfand, one of Josh's defense attorneys, had stated, "We respect the jury's verdict and we look forward to continuing this fight on appeal."
"Regardless of wealth, social status, or fame, our office will continue to seek out all individuals who seek to abuse children and victimize them through the downloading, possession, and sharing of child pornography," U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes of the western district of Arkansas, which prosecuted the case, said.
Josh and his family starred on the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting before it was canceled in 2015 in light of revelations that he molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Following an investigation that began in 2006, authorities concluded the statute of limitations on any potential charges had expired.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh said in a 2015 statement. "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."
TLC had developed a spin-off series called Counting On, but that show was canceled this year in the wake of Josh's child pornography trial.
Josh's sister Jill and her husband Derick Dillard also released a statement in the aftermath of his conviction this week.
"Josh's actions have rippled far beyond the epicenter of the offense itself," the couple said, in part, through comments posted on the family's website. "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."