Josh Duggar found guilty of federal child pornography charges

The former reality star could be sentenced to up 20 years in prison for receiving and possessing child pornography

By Alison Stine

Published December 9, 2021 1:10PM (EST)

Josh Duggar speaks during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Josh Duggar speaks during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Josh Duggar has been found guilty by federal jury in Fayetteville, Arkansas of one count of receiving and one count of possessing child pornography, as reported by The Associated Press and others. In April, the former reality TV star pled not guilty to the federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. He could be sentenced to $250,000 fines for each count, and up to 20 years in prison.

Images of child sexual abuse were found on Duggar's work computer, onto which federal prosecutors explained he had installed a Linux partition, which separates a computer's hard drive, in an attempt to thwart computer monitoring software. Defense attorneys tried to argue that someone else had downloaded the images, and that Duggar's home computer did not contain any illegal images.

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Those who testified in the trial, which began Nov. 30, included a family friend, Bobye Holt, who according to NBC News, said that Duggar had confessed to him in 2003 that Duggar had molested children. Duggar's defense attorneys "filed a petition to strike Holt from witness list in November, citing clergyman privilege," as Holt and his wife were church elders and Duggar's father had sought advice from them, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks denied that request.

From 2008 and 2015, Duggar appeared in a popular TLC reality show called "19 Kids and Counting" which followed his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, devout Baptists, and their large family. Josh Duggar was the eldest of 19 children. He married in 2008, and has seven children. His arrest for child pornography charges came less than a week after he and his wife announced they were having a seventh child.


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In 2015, Duggar checked himself into a rehab center after reports of extramarital affairs surfaced. That same year, InTouch Weekly reported that Duggar was being investigated for molesting four of his sisters and an underage babysitter. In 2006, when he was 18, Duggar was investigated by Arkansas' Springdale Police Department for multiple instances of child molestation, which his wife called "teenage mistakes." No charges were ever filed in that case.

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Alison Stine

Alison Stine is a staff writer at Salon. She is the author of the novels "Trashlands" and "Road Out of Winter," winner of the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, and others.

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19 Kids And Counting Brief Josh Duggar Tlc