UPDATE: Josh Duggar was charged on Friday for receiving and possessing child pornography, according to a filing by the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
He has pleaded not guilty and will remain in custody. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years behind bars and fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
According to court documents filed on April 28 (above), Duggar allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material in 2019. He also allegedly possessed said material, some of which depicts sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.
Duggar appeared before Judge Erin Wiedemann of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas via Zoom on Friday morning. He will remain in custody until a May 5 detention hearing, according to local NBC affiliate KNWA.
Judge Wiedermann said, should Duggar be released on bond, he will need a “third-party custodian” and he cannot live in a residence with any minor children.
His next court date is scheduled for Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
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Jim Bob and Michelle, Duggar’s parents, released a statement on behalf of the family on Friday following the indictment:
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” it reads. “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.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Josh Duggar, who formerly appeared in TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, was arrested Thursday by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas on unspecified charges. He is currently being held without bond.
In 2015, Duggar admitted to sexually molesting five underage girls 13 years prior, when he was only 14. He also revealed that two of those girls were his younger sisters, Jill and Jessa, and he conceded to a porn addiction and cheating on his wife, which rocked the family’s strong Christian fanbase.
In a message posted on Facebook at the time, Duggar wrote: “I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
He sought treatment at a faith-based rehabilitation centre following the confession, but no charges were ever filed against him. He also resigned from his role as a lobbyist for an organization called the Family Research Council, which describes itself as “advancing faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview.”
“Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives,” said his parents Jim Bob and Michelle in a joint statement at the time. “When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.
“Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us — even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey — the good times and the difficult times — cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.”
TLC cancelled the show following Duggar’s revelations, after a highly successful run from 2008 until 2015. (The network has aired another Duggar-related show, Counting On, since late 2015.)
Online records show that Duggar was booked and placed on a federal hold at Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, Ark. Under the charges heading, the records state, “hold for other dept.” Authorities have not stated why he was arrested, but have confirmed he was arrested by Homeland Security.
His place of work, a car dealership in Arkansas, was raided by Homeland Security in late 2019, but it’s unclear if Duggar was implicated in that investigation. It’s also unknown if that raid is related to his current arrest.
Last year, Duggar reportedly lost a civil lawsuit over a property title dispute.
His arrest Thursday took place mere days after announcing that he and his wife, Anna, are expecting their seventh child together. They are already parents to Mackynzie Renée, 11, Michael, 9, Marcus, 7, Meredith, 5, Mason, 3, and Maryella, 1.
Duggar is expected to appear in front of a judge on Friday.