The former “19 Kids and Counting” star posted an Instagram Story on Tuesday explaining the reasoning behind the misdemeanor charge. First, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s 31-year-old daughter stressed she was speaking out because of the “field day” around her charge and that her last name “is open to public criticism and interest, especially during this time.”
“The raw facts: I was babysitting a few months ago when one of the children wandered outside alone. A passerby who saw [the] child called the police. This resulted in a written citation, as well as a follow-up with child welfare who concluded that it was an accident and the child was unharmed,” Jana’s statement began.
Her post continued: “They recognized it was a case of a child slipping out of the house when you turn your back for a moment. It all happened so quickly and was scary. I am grateful for law enforcement and those who protect and serve our community. I was certainly never arrested like some may have implied. In the end I was just upset at myself that it had happened at all, but so thankful it all ended safely and that’s truly what mattered most to me.”
(L-R) Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar are seen at a TV studio in March 2014. Jana, far right, is charged with endangering the wellbeing of a child. ( D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
The charge for the former TV star could be classified as a “Class A or B misdemeanor” offense and could result in some jail time for Jana if not mitigated to a fine, per the Arkansas statutes.
Court documents obtained by Fox News reveal the former reality star was hit with the charge in September and she pleaded not guilty She is ordered to appear in court on Jan. 10.
Jana’s cousin Amy Duggar King came to her defense after news of her charge made headlines.
“I will call out what is right and I will call out what is wrong. This couldn’t have been intentional,” King wrote on Instagram.
“I bet you were exhausted, stressed and just emotionally worn out,” King continued. “Watching multiple kids is hard! Bc there’s so many of them and you only have two eyes!! It’s a very sad situation going on and my heart goes out to @janamduggar love you.”
The Duggar family makes television appearance in March 2014. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
Jana’s sister, Jessa Duggar Seewald, also spoke out on Monday. She wrote on Instagram: “Bottom line – it was an innocent mistake. She was babysitting and one of the kids slipped out the door unnoticed, but it ended safely. Could’ve happened to anyone.”
Jessa also asked for the public to “give the girl a break.”
News of the charge came just one day after Jana’s brother, Josh Duggar, was convicted on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. The former reality TV star faces up to 20 years and up to $250,000 fines for each count.
Josh Duggar’s mugshot after he was found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)
Josh’s parents, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, said the “entire ordeal has been very grievous” in a statement posted to the family’s website following Josh’s guilty verdict.
“Today, God’s grace, through the love and prayers of so many, have sustained us,” read the memo. “Our hearts and prayers are with anyone who has ever been harmed through CSAM [Child Sexual Abuse Material].”
“In the days ahead, we will do all we can to surround our daughter-in-law [Josh’s wife] Anna and their children with love and support,” the duo continued. “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.”
Various members of the Duggar family have also spoken out publicly amid Josh’s guilty verdict.