Josh Duggar found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography
Josh Duggar, former reality TV star that was on “19 Kids and Counting”, was found guilty Thursday for once count of possessing and one count of downloading child pornography.
The Jury in Fayetteville Arkansas found the 33 year old Duggar guilty on receiving and possessing child pornography. Josh Duggar could face up to 20 years in prison and up to 250,000 dollars in fines. He will be sentenced at a later date.
United States District Judge Timothy Brooks announced the sentencing will take place in about four months. Josh Duggar was taken into custody by United States Marshals immediately after the verdict was read.
One of Duggar’s lawyers, Justin Gelfand, issued a statement saying “We appreciate the jury’s lengthy deliberations, we respect the jury’s verdict, and we intend to appeal.”
The United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Clay Fowlkes, also issued a statement, saying the verdict “sends the message” that child sexual abuse cases are a top priority for prosecutors. “This verdict also demonstrates that no person is above the law,” the statement said. “Regardless of wealth, social status or fame, our office will continue to seek out all individuals who seek to abuse children and victimize them through the downloading, possession, and sharing of child pornography.”
Federal authorities say that they began investigating Duggar after a detective in Little Rock found child porn files were being traced back to Josh Duggar. A federal agent testified in May saying that the images depicting the sexual abuse of children including toddlers were downloaded in 2019 onto a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.
The trial was supposed to begin in early July but was postponed until November 30th. The Jury heard computer experts’ arguments from both sides of the aisle. The Jury made their decision in about 7 hours after a 6 day trial.
After the verdict was read Jill Duggar and her Husband Derek Dillard released a statement saying “No one is above the law.”
The Duggar family rose to fame with their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” which chronicled the personal life of Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Josh is their eldest son.
TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 following a sexual abuse scandal involving revelations that he had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a young teen. At that time, he admitted to a porn addiction and cheating on his wife, and apologized.
Over the objections of Duggar’s defense team, the judge in the child pornography case ruled that jurors could hear testimony about how in 2003, Duggar admitted to molesting the girls. A family friend also testified that Duggar told her about the abuse.
Local Arkansas authorities had investigated the allegations of abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend but concluded that the statute of limitations on any possible charges had expired. Duggar’s parents said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized.
The series’ spinoff “Counting On” features storylines focusing on his sisters and their young families but was canceled in 2019 following the child pornography allegations.