Facing the consequences. Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and husband Derick Dillard explained that they were “neither rejoicing nor disappointed” after Josh Duggar was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on child pornography charges.
“The last several weeks and months have been difficult emotionally. Yesterday was another one of those hard days,” the pair wrote in a joint statement on their Dillard Family blog on Thursday May 26, revealing that they were “thankful” that the trial was over. “The Bible clearly states that God effects justice and vengeance through the governing authorities.”
Jill, 31, and Derick, 33, continued: “Though some believe Josh should have received a greater sentence and still fewer believe he should have received a lighter sentence, God has carried out his vengeance today for his unspeakable criminal activity.”
Adding that this is the first time that Josh, 34, has been “held accountable to the extent necessary that would change in his dangerous pattern of behavior,” the couple explained that they hoped he would get the treatment he needed during his time behind bars. “It is unfortunate, but it seems that it may take spending over a decade in federal prison, and still more on probation, for Josh to have any potential for rehabilitation to the point he can safely live in society again,” the post continued. “Hopefully, Josh can actually begin to get treatment and begin to work toward a lifestyle where he is less likely to reoffend.”
“If for nothing else, the notoriety of this case has hopefully contributed to the deterrence of potential offenders and will help protect children by decreasing the demand for [Child Sexual Abuse Material],” they wrote.
The Dillards concluded their post by stating that they “continue to love Josh and his family,” and offer to be there to support them in whatever ways they can.
Josh, who was arrested without bail in April 2021 on child porn charges, was convicted in December of that year on two counts of possessing and receiving child pornography, just one week after his trial began. On Wednesday, May 25, the former car salesman was sentenced to 151 months in prison for his crimes, which Arkansas judge Timothy L. Brooks described as “the sickest of the sick.”
Josh’s lawyer told press outside of the courtroom that he plans to file an appeal in the next two weeks.
Jill and Derick have been openly critical of the political activist and his actions in the wake of his arrest. “Josh’s actions have rippled far beyond the epicenter of the offense itself. Children have scars, but his family is also suffering the fallout of his actions,” the Counting On alums wrote on their blog in December 2021, after Josh was found guilty. “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.”
They continued: “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.”
Prior court documents previously revealed in May 2015 that Josh was accused of molesting five underage girls — several of which were his own sisters — in 2002 and 2003. Three months later, he confessed cheating on his wife after he was revealed to have had an Ashley Madison account. (Anna, 33, has stayed by her husband’s side through all of his scandals.)
In June 2015, Jill and sister Jessa Seewald (née Duggar) came forward as two of his victims. “As victims we have to come out and speak. This is something we chose,” the elder Duggar told Megyn Kelly at the time. “Nobody asked us to do this. Jessa and I were talking and we’re like, ‘Oh my goodness! Most of the stuff out there is lies — it’s not truth.’ So for truth’s sake, we want to come out and set the record straight.”
The sisters later confirmed that they had forgiven their eldest brother for his actions. “We had dealt with it as a family, we had moved on,” Jessa, 29, said at the time, to which Jill responded: “It was a done deal.”