Friday, May 7

Josh Duggar’s Lawsuits, Scandals and Controversies Over the Years

It’s been a rocky road for Josh Duggar since his family entered the spotlight on 19 Kids and Counting (formerly 17 Kids and Counting and 18 Kids and Counting).

TLC viewers started keeping up with Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar and their large family in 2008. The eldest Duggar sibling, Josh, married Anna Duggar (née Keller) that September, with their courtship and wedding airing on the series.

As the show continued to gain popularity, Josh came under fire in 2015 after a police report revealed he molested five girls when he was 14 and 15 years old.

Josh addressed the controversy in a statement via Facebook at the time. “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. “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.”

The legal paperwork revealed that Jim Bob reported the situation to Arkansas State Police, telling officers that Josh “did manual labor and had counseling” through a Christian program. Former Arkansas state trooper Joseph Truman Hutchens subsequently gave Josh a “very stern talk,” but “there was nothing else to do,” Jim Bob revealed in the court docs.

It was later revealed that four out of five of Josh’s victims were his siblings, including Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar. Several months later, Josh admitted to cheating on Anna after website Ashley Madison was involved in a data leak in August 2015.

“It was one of the hardest times of our lives,” Jinger recalled to Us Weekly in April 2021 about Josh’s scandals. “I will never forget how I felt in that moment. 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.”

Josh and Anna are the parents of six kids: Mackynzie (born October 2009), Michael (June 2011), Marcus (June 2013), Meredith (July 2015), Mason (September 2017) and Maryella (November 2019). In April 2021, Anna announced the pair are expecting baby No. 7, a baby girl. Days later, Josh was arrested and was not given the option to post bail until a May 5 hearing. During an April 30 hearing, his lawyer, Justin Gelfand, waived the right to have the charges read out loud, but the United States Department of Justice confirmed via a press release that he was arrested for possessing child porn.

Scroll through for a timeline of the scandals:

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June 2015: Sisters Among Josh’s Molestation Victims

One month after the scandal broke, Jessa and Jill confirmed they were among their brother’s molestation victims. During an interview with Megyn Kelly in June 2015, Jim Bob recalled Josh confessing his actions and noted “safeguards” were subsequently put in place. Jill went on to explain the precautions taken: “Locks on the doors. … You know, everybody’s in bed. Girls in the girls’ room. Boys in the boys’ room — as a mother now I look back, and I think, you know, my parents did such an amazing job for me. Even when we went through the DHS investigation, they complimented my parents on what an amazing job they did through that process.”


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August 2015: Ashley Madison Scandal

As the fallout from the child molestation allegations continued, Josh admitted he cheated on Anna after his Ashley Madison account was revealed in August 2015.

“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 said in a statement at the time. “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. … I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.”

Jim Bob and Michelle released a statement of their own: “When we learned of this late last night our hearts were broken. As we continue to place our trust in God we ask for your prayers for Josh, Anna, our grandchildren, and our entire family.”

Josh subsequently sought treatment and the couple gave a relationship update in March 2016.

“Since the residential treatment program ended, we have been working with a professional marriage and family counselor to take important steps toward healing,” they wrote in a statement at the time. “As the future unfolds, we are taking one day at a time and we are grateful for your continued prayers for both of us and our sweet children.”


Courtesy of Anna Duggar/Instagram

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January 2016: Danica Dillon Lawsuit

Josh made headlines in late 2015 after a porn star named Danica Dillon alleged that he paid to have sex with her and subsequently “assaulted her to the point of causing her physical and emotional injuries.” Josh responded to the lawsuit in a legal filing of his own, denying that he slept with Dillon and claiming he never met her. She dismissed the lawsuit in January 2016.

Danny Johnston/AP/Shutterstock

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2019: Real Estate Lawsuit

Josh and his company, ALB Investments, were sued by a man named Carl Echols for allegedly purchasing a five-acre property illegally. While Josh was later dropped as a Defendant on the case, ALB Investments was ordered to pay $5,000 in lawyer’s fees and costs in October 2020, according to The Sun.

Courtesy Josh Duggar/Twitter

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April 2021: Arrest

Josh was booked in April 2021 and placed on a federal hold at the Washington County jail in Arkansas, Us confirmed. He subsequently pleaded not guilty to receipt and possession of child pornography charges.

“I will also advise you that any proposed third-party custodian, it would need to be in a residence, where there are no minors in the home,” the judge said at the April 30 hearing. “So, you all would need to be looking for somebody that will ensure compliance with conditions of release and can ensure to the court that there are no minors in the home, or that would be visiting unsupervised.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas subsequently detailed the charges in a press release: “According to court documents, Joshua James Duggar, 33, allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material. Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019.”

Washington County Police Dept.

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