The eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar made headlines in 2015 after multiple girls claimed he had molested them years prior. Josh apologized for his actions at the time, revealing that he’d previously sought counseling for his “wrongdoings” as a teen.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Josh wrote via the family’s Facebook account in May 2015. “I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
The incident — which involved four of Josh’s sisters — and its resurfaced story led to the Duggars reexamining their dynamic. In April 2021, Jinger Duggar exclusively told Us Weekly that despite the pain that Josh brought to the group, everyone came out stronger.
“Our family was way closer because of that, and in spite of that, I guess you’d say. I will never forget how I felt in that moment,” Jinger said at the time. “And I think even everything that happens in our lives — because we’re in the public eye — it makes it more challenging because then it’s not just dealing with these things inwardly, but you have to give an answer to the world. That makes it a much tougher thing to walk through.”
Later that month, Josh again turned heads when he was arrested in Arkansas for allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography. His family was put through the wringer once more, with multiple siblings speaking out about the case.
“The recent accusations brought against Josh sadden us to our core. We have not wanted to be hasty in making any statements while trying to process the news ourselves,” Joy-Anna Duggar and her husband, Austin Forsyth, said in a statement via their Instagram Stories in May 2021. “We are especially heartbroken by the reality that there are children in the world being harmed and exploited. We ask for prayer for all those involved and it is our continued prayer that the truth comes to light.”
In December 2021, Josh was convicted of two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced in May 2022 to 151 months, which equates to a little over 12 years, in prison for his crimes.
Josh’s mom, however, continued to fight for her son to be released. In a letter obtained by the Daily Mail in May 2022, Michelle requested leniency when it came to Josh’s sentencing, arguing that he is a good man deep down.
“[Josh] has friends and family who will love and support him in his abilities to succeed as a husband, father, business owner, and man both now and in the future,” she wrote, noting that she still offers her “continued love and encouragement to Joshua.” Michelle added: “We ask that he would be reunited with his wife and family in a timely manner.”
Scroll down to see where Josh stands with the rest of the Duggar family: