Jill and Derick Dillard Find 'Justice and Vengeance' in Josh Duggar's Federal Prison Sentence

·6 min read
Jill and Derick Dillard Find 'Justice and Vengeance' in Josh Duggar's Federal Prison Sentence

Jill (Duggar) Dillard and Derick Dillard are speaking out after Josh Duggar was sentenced following a child pornography conviction on Wednesday.

In a statement on their family blog Thursday, Jill and Derek said they were "neither rejoicing nor disappointed by the sentence, but we are thankful it's finally over."

"Yesterday we learned that Josh was given a 151 month sentence in federal prison for his crime of CSAM [child sex abuse material]," their statement began. "The last several weeks and months have been difficult emotionally. Yesterday was another one of those hard days."

Continuing, the couple said, "The Bible clearly states that God effects justice and vengeance through the governing authorities. 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."

"Until now, he has yet to be held accountable to the extent necessary to cause change in his dangerous pattern of behavior," they wrote. "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."

ill and Derick Dillard Find 'Justice and Vengeance' in Josh Duggar's Federal Prison Sentence
ill and Derick Dillard Find 'Justice and Vengeance' in Josh Duggar's Federal Prison Sentence

Jill and Derick Dillard

RELATED: Amy Duggar King Reacts to Cousin Josh Duggar's Sentencing: 'Twelve and a Half Years Isn't Enough'

The statement ended with Jill and Derick saying that they hope "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 CSAM," they added. "We continue to love Josh and his family and will be there for them however we can."

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The former 19 Kids and Counting star, 34, was given his sentence by U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks of the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Ahead of Duggar's sentencing, he was found guilty in December on two charges of knowingly receiving and possessing images of child pornography.

josh duggar
josh duggar

Danny Johnston/AP/Shutterstock Josh Duggar

RELATED: One Count Against Josh Duggar Is Dropped amid Child Pornography Sentencing

On Wednesday, with the agreement of both the defense and prosecution, the court vacated the conviction on count 2 without prejudice. Judge Brooks noted that possession is a lesser included offense of the receipt of child pornography.

Judge Brooks further ruled that Josh did not knowingly distribute child pornography images and sustained the defense's objection to that potential enhancement to Duggar's sentence.

As a result of Wednesday's vacation, Josh was facing up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines total (he previously faced that potential maximum sentence for each conviction).

RELATED: Josh Duggar's Mom Michelle Says He Has a 'Tender Heart' in Request for Leniency Ahead of Sentencing

Prior to the sentencing, his mother Michelle Duggar wrote a letter of support for her son that asked for leniency in consideration of his "tender heart," with Michelle adding that Josh "is compassionate toward others." She also requested that Josh be "reunited with his wife and family in a timely manner."

Josh's wife Anna called her husband a "loving, supportive and caring father" in her own letter to Judge Brooks.

RELATED: Amy Duggar Is 'Furious' at 'Delusional' Family for Supporting Josh Duggar Ahead of Child Porn Sentencing

However, Josh's cousin Amy (Duggar) King issued her own statement to PEOPLE ahead of the sentencing, sharing, "I don't think anyone would make the mistake of assuming I support my cousin."

"I am furious at the family that looked the other way and still today, refuse to hold him accountable," she added.

Amy, who later wrote an open letter urging Anna to divorce Josh, concluded her statement to PEOPLE: "In my opinion, 20 years could never come close to justice for the children harmed. ... My heart hurts for his children during this time."

josh duggar
josh duggar

Kris Connor/Getty Josh Duggar

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Josh was arrested in April 2021 in connection with receiving and possessing child pornography. In December 2021, he was found guilty on two charges for knowingly obtaining and owning the material. As a result of these convictions, he could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for the crime. In January, his legal team unsuccessfully vied for an acquittal after presenting new evidence.

At the time of Josh's verdict, many of his family members reacted to the news, including Jill and Derick.

"Today was difficult for our family. Our hearts go out to the victims of child abuse or any kind of exploitation," a statement posted on the Dillard family website read.

"We are thankful for the hard work of law enforcement, including investigators, forensic analysts, prosecutors, and all others involved who save kids and hold accountable those responsible for their abuse," their joint statement continued. "Nobody is above the law.  It applies equally to everybody, no matter your wealth, status, associations, gender, race, or any other factor. Today, the people of the Western District of Arkansas made that clear in their verdict."

RELATED: Jill Duggar, Derick Dillard Say 'Today Was Difficult' After Josh Duggar Found Guilty in Child Porn Case

Michelle and Josh's father, Jim Bob, also spoke out following the verdict.

"This entire ordeal has been very grievous. Today, God's grace, through the love and prayers of so many, have sustained us. Our hearts and prayers are with anyone who has ever been harmed through CSAM [Child Sexual Abuse Material]," the couple wrote in a statement posted to their family website.

"In the days ahead, we will do all we can to surround our daughter-in-law Anna and their children with love and support," they added. "As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children. In each of life's circumstances, we place our trust in God. He is our source of strength and refuge. Thank you for your prayers."

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Josh's conviction was only the latest in a series of personal scandals that rocked his family — the reality show that first made them all famous was canceled in 2015 after a 2006 police report was released revealing Josh had been investigated in connection with accusations that he had molested four younger girls when he was a boy and teenager.

Later in 2015, he also admitted to having a pornography addiction and being "unfaithful" in his marriage.

Counting On — a spin-off of 19 Kids and Counting that followed his younger siblings — was canceled after his arrest on the child pornography charges.

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