Former reality television star Jana Duggar has broken her silence after it was revealed last week that she is facing a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
Amid her brother Josh Duggar’s legal battle over child pornography charges, the former “19 Kids and Counting” star and eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar was given a citation in Washington County, Arkansas, on Sept. 9.
Reports of the citation surfaced in the media last week after her brother was convicted, but the details of the charge were not disclosed, leading some to speculate online. Jana Duggar, who is not married and has no children of her own, took to her Instagram Story on Tuesday to offer clarification on what happened.
“I was babysitting a few months ago when one of the children wandered outside alone. A passerby who saw the child called the police,” Duggar, 31, wrote, according to USA Today.
“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 Duggar gained fame on “19 Kids and Counting” and “Counting On,” reality TV shows highlighting the family’s ultra-conservative Christian faith. She clarified that the child was safe, which authorities acknowledged as well.
“It was a case of a child slipping out of the house when you turn your back for a moment,” she detailed. “It all happened so quickly and was scary.”
Duggar said she is grateful for law enforcement and those who protect and serve the community. But she also wanted to set the rumors straight.
“I was certainly never arrested like some may have implied,” she added. “In the end, I was just upset at myself that it happened at all but so thankful it all ended safely and that’s truly what mattered the most to me.”
Despite the criticism online, Duggar received support from her sister Jessa Seewald, who called the incident 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,” Seewald posted in her own Instagram Story.
Seewald further added that the story gained attention because of “other current family circumstances,” referring to Josh Duggar’s conviction, which is an unrelated case.
Amy Duggar King, a Duggar cousin who is very vocal about the family, also shared her support.
“I will call out what is right and I will call out what is wrong,” King wrote in her Instagram Story Saturday. “This couldn’t have been intentional. Thank God the child was OK and found!”
“I bet you were exhausted, stressed and just emotionally worn out,” King added in her statement. “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.”
In Arkansas, a misdemeanor conviction for endangering the welfare of a child is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail, according to Us Weekly. She is scheduled to attend a court date in January.