“Nothing can prepare someone to receive news like that,” Vuolo, 33, told TODAY Parents on Wednesday, May 12. “Like everyone else, we are absolutely horrified, and want to see justice carried out. And we just want to say that we are grateful for the authorities who work tirelessly to end child abuse here and around the world. We’re praying for all of the victims in this situation — really, we’re praying for everyone who is involved.”
According to an April 30 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Western District of Arkansas, Josh “allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material,” some of which “depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12” in May 2019.
Following his arrest, Jinger, 27, and Vuolo shared a statement about the situation.
“We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh,” the couple wrote in a statement via Instagram at the time. “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 authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice.”
A judge ruled to have Josh placed on home confinement with his third-party custodians Lacount and Maria Reber. The pastor and his wife were described in court as “close friends” of the Duggar family. The former 19 Kids and Counting star was not allowed to return home to his wife, Anna Duggar, and their six children, but he is allowed to have unlimited contact with Mackynzie, 11, Michael, 9, Marcus, 7, Meredith, 5, Mason, 3, and Maryella, 17 months, when his pregnant wife is present.
The recent charges come after the reality TV personality faced a child molestation scandal in 2015. Josh was accused of molesting five girls between 2002 and 2003 when he was 14 and 15 years old, including some of his sisters.
Jinger wrote about the experience in her book, The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God, which she cowrote with Vuolo.
“Walking through that season, it was one of the hardest times of our lives,” she told Us Weekly in May about how that time showed them who their real friends were.
She added: “It’s in those times where it’s not popular to be your friend, seeing how they responded really showed us the love of Christ through them and through their friendships. I think that was something that stood out to me and I saw the friends who came so close and were like, ‘Hey, I’ll just sit with you,’ ‘I’ll bring you a meal or hang out with you if you want to.’ In those times I thought, ‘Man, that really meant the most.'”
Looking back on it, Jinger believes that being on a reality show added to the challenges the family faced.
“Our family was way closer because of that, and in spite of that, I guess you’d say,” she told Us. “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’s trial is set to start in July. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.