Jessa Duggar Explains Why Sister Jana Was Charged With Misdemeanor: "It Was an Innocent Mistake"

Just days after news broke that older sister Jana Duggar was charged with a misdemeanor, Jessa Duggar is addressing the incident, stating in part, that it "could’ve happened to anyone."

By Kisha Forde Dec 14, 2021 4:09 PMTags
Watch: TLC Cancels "Counting On" 2 Months After Josh Duggar's Arrest

Following the news of Jana Duggar's misdemeanor charge, her sister Jessa Duggar is speaking out in her defense.
According to court documents filed with the Washington County District Court in Arkansas and obtained by E! News on Dec. 10, Jana, 31—who is the eldest daughter of 19 Kids and Counting stars Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar—was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor on Sept. 9.
"Getting messages about headlines about Jana," Jana's younger sister, Jessa, 29, wrote in an Instagram Story post on Dec. 13. "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 added, "The media is sensationalizing this because of other current family circumstances, and it makes me so mad. She's without question, one of the most amazing women I know, and I'd trust her with my kids any day of the week. Do me a favor—give the girl a break, and all you perfect humans go back to living your lives."

The Complete Duggar Family Tree

Further details about the incident and what led authorities to charge Jana were not provided. Her attorney also entered a not guilty plea on her behalf on Sept. 23. E! News reached out to the Duggar family but did not hear back. 

Jana broke her silence on the charge in a post shared to Instagram Stories on Dec. 14. "I'm only sharing this because the media has been having a field day with it all," she wrote. "I prefer a more private life, but I know my last name means that everything we do is open to public criticism and interest, especially during this time."

She then offered an explanation. "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. 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 so scary. I am grateful for law enforcement and those who protect and serve our community."

Jana also said she "was certainly never arrested like some may have implied." 

"In the end I was just upset at myself that it had happened at all," she concluded, "but so thankful it all ended safely and that's truly what mattered the most to me."


janamduggar / Instagraam

On Dec. 11, Jana's cousin, Amy Duggar King, also defended the Counting On alum on social media, writing in a message shared to her Instagram Stories, "I will call out what is right, and I will call out what is wrong. This couldn't have been intentional," adding, "I bet you were exhausted, stressed and just emotionally worn out. 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."

News of Jana's charge came just one day after her older brother, Josh Duggar, was found guilty of one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. His attorneys told E! News they plan to seek an appeal.

The Duggar family was first introduced to audiences when the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, premiered in 2008. In 2015, the series was canceled after a 2006 police report resurfaced, in which Josh was accused of molesting five underage girls while they slept. In May of that year, Josh issued a public apology, with his younger sisters, Jessa and Jill Duggar later coming forward as two of his victims
In late 2015, the series spinoff, Counting On, which followed the older siblings of the Duggar family, including Jana and Jessa, debuted on TLC. The show was subsequently cancelled earlier this year in the wake of Josh's arrest.

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