Josh Duggar Charged with Possession of and Receiving Child Pornography

Mugshot of former reality TV star Joshua Duggar. Photo Source: Mugshot of former reality TV star Joshua Duggar. (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP, File)

Josh Duggar, the oldest child from the reality show 19 Kids and Counting, has been charged with possession of and receiving child pornography. He was booked at the Washington County Jail in Arkansas. According to ABC News, “Duggar is accused of downloading child sexual abuse material, some of which depicts children younger than 12, and having it in his possession in May of 2019,” according to the indictment. He appeared in court via Zoom and pled not guilty.

According to Josh Duggar’s attorneys, “In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom — and that is exactly what Josh intends to do.” His attorneys said they also planned to fight this case “aggressively and thoroughly.” His trial date has been set for July 6. If he is released on bond, he will not be able to live in a home with minors, which means that he will not be able to live in the family home with his wife and six children. His oldest child is 11. According to Judge Wiedemann, “Given the nature of the charges against him, the court would likely require a third-party custodian that he could reside with and that would ensure compliance with conditions of bond.”

He had his detention hearing on May 5. At this hearing, Special Agent Gerald Faulkner from Homeland Security testified that on Josh Duggar’s computer, he found a file with child sex abuse from children ranging from 18 months to 12 years old. Faulkner said these images were “in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.” He has been released into the custody of Lacount and Maria Reber, who are close friends of the Duggar family. Josh Duggar cannot leave their home and he will be monitored with GPS. The judge said that she "cannot in good conscience" release Josh Duggar to his wife and 6 kids. However, he can see his kids as much as he wants, as long as Anna is present. Duggar cannot see any other minor children, including his nieces and nephews. "Don't make me regret this decision," the judge told Duggar before the hearing was adjourned.

Diem Nguyen, a federal probation officer, was called as a witness earlier in the hearing. He suggested that Duggar not be released to stay with the Rebers. The Rebers’ adult daughter sometimes has minor children come to the home for piano lessons. Lacount and Maria also have firearms but no firearm safe. "The minors that come to the home causes the probation office some concern, as well as the pistols," Nguyen said. Marla said in her testimony that they could have the piano lessons elsewhere and that the firearms could be removed if Duggar was to move in with them. Lacount also said that the couple and their daughter would make sure that Duggar would not have access to their phones and computers.

His parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar released a joint statement after the news was released, saying: "We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family"

Back in 2015, the TLC reality series 19 Kinds and Counting was canceled when it was found out that back in 2006, Josh Duggar had molested 5 underage girls. Four of them were his sisters. One was a babysitter. According to a statement he gave People Magazine, "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents, who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."

If he is found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count.

Catherine Kimble
Catherine Kimble
Catherine graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with a minor in English. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends. Neal Shusterman is one of her favorite authors. Some of her favorite shows on Netflix are New Girl, Stranger Things, and Money Heist.