Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar revealed during a 2015 interview with Megyn Kelly their eldest son, now 33, molested five girls between 2002 and 2003 when he was 14 and 15 years old. It was later confirmed some of those girls were his sisters, including Jessa Seewald (née Duggar), 28, and Jill Dillard (née Duggar), 29. The situation resulted in TLC canceling 19 Kids and Counting.
“My brain hadn’t quite caught up to the reality of what had happened in a few short hours,” Jinger, 27, wrote in her book, which is cowritten by husband Jeremy Vuolo, 33. “Earlier that day, Dad had gathered my siblings and me to tell us that the worst trial in our family history, a trial we had long since dealt with and made our peace with, was now public knowledge.”
At the time, Josh released a statement amid the scandal. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
Jinger said she felt “shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded” when “intimate details” about her family members were now out “for anyone and everyone to read.” She recalled, “I moved in a daze, living in a nightmare that I wished with all my heart wasn’t real.”
“One of my siblings had made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family,” she continued. “We’d sought the Lord, took the necessary steps to move toward healing, and offered up our forgiveness. Now that it was out in public, the old wound was open again, raw, painful.”
The Duggars “hid out” at “a friend’s property” amid the scandal. The Counting On star’s now-husband, who was friends with Jessa and husband Ben Seewald, 25, was struck by her positivity and strong sense of faith during a trip to Arkansas before he began courting Jinger.
“Here was a woman in one of the greatest trials of her life, and she wasn’t crushed or unraveled. She was sweet, gracious, and hopeful. It was obvious that her confidence was still in Christ,” Jeremy wrote.
Josh is now involved in another scandal. On April 29, the former politician was arrested for allegedly receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. In his arraignment hearing on April 30, Josh pleaded not guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
The former reality star allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material, according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, obtained by In Touch. The care dealership owner “allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019.”
If he is found guilty of the charges, the disgraced reality star faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count. His trial is scheduled for July 6, with a pretrial hearing on July 1.
Jinger and Jeremy responded to the latest controversy in a statement on their respective Instagram accounts.
“We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh,” they wrote. “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 authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice.”