Jana Duggar Pleads Guilty to Endangering Welfare of a Minor
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’19 Kids and Counting’ Star Jana Duggar Gets No Jail Time After Pleading Guilty to Endangering the Welfare of a Minor

 
Jana Duggar appears in a screeengrab from the TLC show "Counting On."

Jana Duggar appears in a screeengrab from the TLC show “Counting On.”

Reality television star Jana Duggar has pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a minor in the third degree, according to court records on file in the Elm Springs Department of the Washington County District Court in Arkansas.

The Dec. 15 plea disposed of the case by way of an $880 payment, the records indicate. The $880 was divided into a $650 fine, $100 in costs, $100 for a Child Victim Crime Fee, a $20 county jail fee, and another $10 jail fee for the City of Tontitown, Ark.

The case was filed Sept. 10, 2021, the court records indicate. Duggar initially pleaded not guilty on Sept. 23. A hearing scheduled for Oct. 10 was punted to Jan. 10, 2022, when a bench trial was scheduled. That trial was cancelled as a result of the plea; a hearing was set for Dec. 6, 2022 to keep the case “under advisement.”

Duggar was given until Dec. 31, 2021, to pay the $880 in full, the records state.

The relevant charge to which Duggar pleaded guilty reads as follows:

5-27-207. Endangering the welfare of a minor in the third degree.

(a)

(1) A person commits the offense of endangering the welfare of a minor in the third degree if the person recklessly engages in conduct creating a substantial risk of serious harm to the physical or mental welfare of a person known by the actor to be a minor.

(2) As used in this section, “serious harm to the physical or mental welfare” means physical or mental injury that causes:

(A) Protracted disfigurement;

(B) Protracted impairment of physical or mental health; or

(C) Loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

Under Arkansas law, the crime is a Class B misdemeanor generally punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Jana Duggar downplayed the incident that led to the charge in a mid-December 2021 Instagram story.

“I’m only sharing this because the media has been having a field day with it all,” Duggar 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.”

Duggar was referring to the then-recent conviction of her brother Josh Duggar on child pornography charges.

“The raw facts: I was babysitting a few months ago when one of the children wandered outside alone,” Duggar continued. “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,” the post went on. “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.”

A number of Duggar’s relatives chimed in with statements of affirmation and support.

“It was an innocent mistake,” sister Jessa Duggar wrote on Instagram. “She was babysitting and one of the kids slipped out the door unnoticed, but it ended safely. Could’ve happened to anyone. 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.”

Fox News first reported the plea. A court clerk confirmed to Law&Crime that the case had been adjudicated.

The conservative Duggar family became famous through the television shows “19 Kids and Counting” and “Counting On.”

There is nothing in the available court record to suggest Jana Duggar’s case was in any way connected to that of her brother Josh.

Read the case docket below:

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.