Josh Duggar Found Guilty on Federal Child Porn Charges
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Former ’19 Kids and Counting’ Star and Conservative Activist Josh Duggar Found Guilty on Child Porn Charges

 

Josh Duggar is seen in a Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot.

Former conservative political activist and star of the television show “19 Kids and Counting,” Josh Duggar, 33, has been convicted of downloading and possessing child pornography.

Late Thursday morning, a federal jury in Arkansas found the defendant guilty of one count each of receiving child pornography and possessing child pornography.

He faces up to 40 years in federal prison and/or fines in excess of $500,000 if sentenced to the maximum as charged. He will likely receive a significantly lesser penalty, however.

“Today’s verdict sends a message that we will track down and prosecute people who download and view child sexual abuse material, regardless of the lengths they go to conceal their conduct,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a press release. “I am grateful for the efforts of the prosecution team and our law enforcement partners who helped ensure the defendant would be held accountable for his crimes. I hope today’s conviction serves as a reminder of the department’s steadfast commitment to bringing to justice those who callously contribute to the online sexual exploitation of young children.”

According to federal authorities, the investigation into Duggar’s sex crimes began when a detective in Little Rock noticed child pornography files that were connected to a computer at his car dealership traced back to Duggar.

During a bond hearing in May, a federal agent testified Duggar had dozens of photographs and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children “as young as toddlers” in his possession.

The defense, for their part, unsuccessfully argued that someone else downloaded and uploaded the images in question.

One video found on a computer in a car lot owned by the defendant was titled “Daisy’s Destruction,” considered to be one of the “Top Five Worst of the Worst” that the federal agent ever had to examine because it depicted the sexual assault of an 18-month-old girl.

An episode of Law&Crime’s podcast “Objections” explores the story of the Australian human trafficker who made that video: Peter Scully, who has been dubbed the “world’s worst pedophile.” Law&Crime managing editor Adam Klasfeld delves into the horrific story behind that footage.

During the trial, jurors were also privy to some of Duggar’s past actions.

In the spring of 2015, Duggar famously apologized amid allegations that he molested four of his sisters as well as a babysitter.

“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,” he said in a statement to People magazine without directly admitting to specific acts of wrongdoing. “I confessed this to my parents, who took several steps to help me address the situation.”

Duggar had allegedly touched at least five girls’ breasts and genitals, often while they slept, USA Today reported in 2015. The newspaper attributed the accusation to police records which contained statements by Josh Duggar’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, who in turn said he was relating to the police what his son, Josh, told him.

Duggar was arrested in April 2021–initially on unspecified charges.

Speculation immediately ran rampant as the mugshot for the onetime reality television star — an ex-lobbyist for and executive director of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council — quickly spread across social media networks.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks allowed the admitted molestation of those girls to reach jurors’ ears. A family friend testified during trial that Duggar himself confessed to the abuse.

According to Fayetteville, Ark.-based Fox affiliate KNWA, Duggar’s sentencing is slated to occur in roughly four months.

The defense filed multiple motions to dismiss the charges–ultimately incurring the ire of the judge, who called one such effort “frivolous.”

[image via Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot]

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