Jim Bob Duggar testified in an evidentiary hearing on Monday after he was subpoenaed by the prosecution in son Josh’s child sexual abuse material case
Advertisement

Jim Bob Duggar was forced to take the stand in an Arkansas court Monday to testify on behalf of the prosecution in his son Josh Duggar's ongoing child sexual abuse material case. 

Josh, the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children, has been charged with receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material. He pleaded not guilty following an April arrest and was released pending his trial, set to begin on Tuesday. 

The 19 Kids and Counting alum, 33, previously faced controversy in May 2015 when he apologized for his "wrongdoing" after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. Two of his sisters subsequently stepped forward as two of the victims.

Jim Bob, 56, was subpoenaed by the prosecution to discuss Josh's past molestation scandal, which the defense team has moved to exclude from the upcoming trial. The judge has not yet ruled on whether it will be allowed in the trial, even after hearing testimony from Jim Bob and Duggar family friend Bobye Holt. 

During his testimony, Jim Bob repeatedly said he couldn't remember the details of Josh's admissions that he had touched the victims, identified during the proceeding as Jane Does 1 through 4. 

Jim Bob Duggar, Josh Duggar
Jim Bob Duggar, Josh Duggar
| Credit: Patsy Lynch/Shutterstock; Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

He also took issue with the police report, which was obtained and published by InTouch. 

"This was something for a young man to come forward," he said, calling it a "juvenile record" and a "sealed case." 

Later, he said "I can't remember" when asked about the report and called it "tabloid information." "I'm not going to allow it, are you going to allow for that?" he asked judge Timothy L. Brooks.

After prosecutors asked him to read a copy of the report, Jim Bob said "I'm not going to do that," but ultimately said his memory was not jogged by reading the report in his head.

"If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won't be you," the judge told him.

jim bob duggar
Jim Bob Duggar
| Credit: Instagram

Jim Bob did recount how Josh came to him and his wife Michelle in 2002 about "inappropriate touching" of a minor but said he did not remember Josh's exact wording. 

"We were shocked this had happened but we were thankful he came on his own and told us," he said, later adding, "He had told me that he had touched some of the girls when they were sleeping on their breasts … they didn't wake up." 

The other witness, Bobye, more specifically recalled that Josh repeatedly admitted, in 2003 and in 2005, to inappropriately touching four Jane Does over and under their clothes. Bobye is married to Jim Holt, an elder in the Duggar family's church. 

Jim Bob went on to say that he and Michelle took Josh to the police in 2006 on the recommendation of Jim Holt. "Josh confessed everything to Arkansas State Police," he said. 

"We tried to handle things in house," he later said. "It was a very difficult time in our family's life."

RELATED VIDEO: Duggars Splinter amid Josh's Legal Drama: Family Isn't 'as Close as They Once Were,' Says Source

When the 2006 police report came up again during his testimony, Jim Bob complained, "For you guys to use a tabloid to bring it back up is very unprofessional."

"Mr. Duggar, I recognize this is perhaps a very unfair position that you're placed in and I appreciate that," the judge said, but he also told him: "This is not a debate."

Jim Bob also said that Josh received spiritual counseling from both Jim and Bobye at the time of the initial scandal. 

"We appreciated their wisdom … good wisdom on how to conquer these challenges. … They said that they would keep it confidential," he said, noting that his daughters also saw a counselor at the time.  

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Duggar has been accused of downloading files depicting child sexual abuse on May 14, 15 and 16 of 2019 on the computer at his then-workplace, a used car lot in Arkansas. 

If convicted of the charges against him, Duggar faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines on each of the two counts for a total possible sentence of 40 years, according to an April press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.