Former 19 Kids and Counting star Jana Duggar has broken her silence after being charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. She described the incident as something that “all happened so quickly and was scary.”

“I’m only sharing this because the media has been having a field day with it all. 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,” Jana, 31, shared via Instagram Stories on Tuesday, December 14. 

The eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar also clarified what occurred during the incident, which allegedly took place on September 9. 

“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,” the TLC alum continued. “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.” 

Jana pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge on September 23. 

Jana’s citation report, obtained by In Touch, revealed that the charge was filed on September 10 and that her hearing will take place on January 10, 2022, after being rescheduled. 

After the news broke, Jana’s family members were quick to jump to her defense. 

Jessa Duggar revealed on her Instagram Stories the evening before Jana released her statement that the incident “could have happened to anyone.” 

“It was an innocent mistake,” Jessa, 29, wrote. “She was babysitting and one of the kids slipped out the door unnoticed, but it ended safely.” 

“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,” the former reality TV star continued. “Do me a favor — give the girl a break, and all you perfect humans go back to living your lives.”

Jessa’s brothers James Duggar and Jason Duggar both shared on their Instagram Stories on December 11 a photo of their sister alongside a caption that read, “I support Jana Duggar.”

In addition to three of her siblings, Jana’s cousin Amy King (née Duggar) shared her own message of solidarity on the social media app.

“I will call out what is right and I will call out what is wrong,” Amy, 35, wrote on December 11. “This couldn’t have been intentional. Thank God the child was OK and found!”

Amy added that she “bet” Jana was “exhausted, stressed and just emotionally worn out” from “watching multiple kids.”

“It’s a very sad situation going on and my heart goes out to [Jana,] love you,” she concluded. 

“I am grateful for law enforcement and those who protect and serve our community. I was certainly never arrested like some may have implied,” Jana wrote in her statement. “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 the most to me.”

The news about Jana’s charge came just one day after her older brother Josh Duggar was found guilty by a federal jury on December 9 for one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. He currently remains in custody and is awaiting his sentencing hearing.

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