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Josh Duggar found guilty of child porn possession, could face 20 years in prison

Josh Duggar
Josh Duggar speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on August 9, 2014. |

A federal jury in Arkansas has found former reality television star Josh Duggar, who had previously admitted to molesting his sisters, guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography.

The jury in Fayetteville found the “19 Kids and Counting” star guilty of one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography on Thursday. He was immediately taken into custody. 

Josh Duggar
Josh Duggar |

Judge Timothy Brooks said Duggar will be sentenced in about four months, according to KNWA. He could receive up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

The eldest son of ultra-conservative Christian parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar was arrested after authorities discovered pornographic images depicting child abuse in a computer at a car dealership that Duggar owned.

In April, Duggar pleaded not guilty in a hearing held via Zoom. The defense claimed that someone else was responsible for downloading the images to the dealership computer, according to The Associated Press

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts said during a press conference that although Duggar was convicted on both charges, Duggar will be sentenced for the charge of receiving child pornography.

"Possession of child pornography is a lesser included offense," he said. "By function of law, you can't be convicted of both." 

People magazine reports that the prosecution's main witness was James Fottrell, who directs the Department of Justice's High Technology Investigative Unit and personally analyzed Duggar's devices. Fottrell detailed time-and-place connections between Duggar's whereabouts and when the child pornography was downloaded or viewed. 

In a pre-trial hearing, Duggar’s father testified and was asked about a 2006 police report, which focused on his son’s previous confession that he had inappropriately touched four of his sisters.

Duggar’s father said he could not recall specifics about the confession, but noted that he and his wife “were shocked this had happened, but we were thankful he came on his own and told us.”

“Josh confessed everything to [the] Arkansas State Police. … We tried to handle things in house,” stated Jim Bob Duggar. “It was a very difficult time in our family’s life.”

The revelation of Josh Duggar’s history of abuse had resulted in the cancellation of the successful TLC reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015.

In August of 2015, Josh Duggar confessed to cheating on his wife following reports that he had created an account with Ashley Madison, a dating website specializing in extra-marital affairs.

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife,” stated Duggar at the time.

“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”

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