TLC Is 'Saddened' by 19 Kids and Counting Star Josh Duggar's Arrest on Child Pornography Charges
TLC, the network that previously ran Duggar family series 19 Kids and Counting and still airs the Counting On spinoff, addressed the controversy surrounding Josh Duggar's arrest on child pornography charges.
"TLC is saddened to learn about the continued troubles involving Josh Duggar," the network said in a statement to PEOPLE on Friday. "19 Kids and Counting has not aired since 2015. TLC cancelled the show on the heels of prior allegations against Josh Duggar and he has not appeared on-air since then."
The previous allegations TLC referenced involves a 2006 police report that surfaced in mid-2015 detailing that Josh, 33, molested five underage girls, including his sisters Jill (Duggar) Dillard and Jessa Seewald. In response to the scandal, TLC told the Associated Press that the show "will no longer appear on the air."
Josh, at the time, apologized for the "wrongdoing" from his teenage years and resigned from his position at the Family Research Council. "I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," he told PEOPLE. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation."
Josh was arrested by Homeland Security on Thursday and taken to an Arkansas jail, where he will await his bond hearing. He appeared in court via Zoom on Friday to pleaded not guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography. Though his attorneys declined to have a judge read out the reality star's charges in court, they issued a statement on the scandal.
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"Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment. He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly," the statement read. "In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you're accused, you can fight back in the courtroom — and that is exactly what Josh intends to do."
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Members of Josh's family have spoken out as well, including Jill. The 29-year-old said in a joint statement with husband Derick Dillard to PEOPLE, "We just found out this information yesterday. It is very sad."
His parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, also addressed the controversy. "We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious," their joint statement read. "It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family."
Josh's sister Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo and her husband Jeremy said in a joint statement on their respective Instagram accounts: "We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh. 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 the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice."
U.S Chief Magistrate Judge Erin L. Wiedemann ordered that Josh not be "in a residence where there's no minor in the home" if he is awarded bail. He faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines on each count, which would amount to a total of 40 years behind bars.
In addition to Thursday's arrest and his previous molestation scandal, Josh made headlines in August 2015 after he admitted to cheating on his wife, Anna, and having an addiction to pornography. Gawker reported at the time that Josh had active accounts on known-cheating service Ashley Madison.
"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife," he wrote on the Duggar family's website. "I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him."
Josh additionally noted that he "brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust."
The former TLC personality's car dealership in Arkansas was raided by Homeland Security in 2019 amid an "ongoing federal investigation," but it was never made clear whether he was the reason for the search.
Josh is currently expecting his seventh child with Anna, whom he's been married to since 2008.
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