Actor Josh Duggar, son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, got arrested on April 30, 2021 for being involved in child pornography and complicit in other abusive malpractices against minors. He was arrested by Arkansas State police department days after his wife, Anna Duggar, announced that the pair are expecting their seventh child. This is second arrest and the fifth time that such molestation charges have been levelled against him, after similar accusations between 2002 and 2003. He was 14 and 15 years old at the time.
Josh Duggar, who rose to fame as a teen star in the TLC drama series, 19 Kids and Counting, was charged with receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. As per the statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas, he had “allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material. Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019.”
The actor pleaded not guilty for all the charges, backed by lawyer Justin Gelfand, over a zoom meeting and had a smile throughout the virtual court proceedings. On April 30, the judge passed his decision regarding his bond agreement saying, “I will also advise you that any proposed third-party custodian, it would need to be in a residence, where there are no minors in the home,” referring to the conditions on which Duggar could be let out till the second hearing.
“So, you all would need to be looking for somebody that will ensure compliance with conditions of release and can ensure to the court that there are no minors in the home, or that would be visiting unsupervised,” he continued.
The charges currently facing him could land the TV personality a sentencing of 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for each count, if found guilty. Following his arrest, he was granted a release from the bond on May 6 for another hearing but since he already has 6 kids with his wife Anna, the judge prohibited him from returning to his home. Further he’d be closely monitored whenever he left his home via GPS although he can still attend court mandated social services like church or even work, legal appointments and receive medical care.
Then started a long drawn battle over extending the day of hearing and delaying the court proceedings on account of lack of sufficient evidence. Duggar’s lawyer pressed for the court hearing date to be shifted by one month initially and then later by another four months since Josh’s team “did not receive some of the additional discovery files from prosecutors, including reports from outside investigators who are also involved in the case, which they will need time to review before going to court.”
Later the team counselled the accused, Josh Duggar to plead not guilty to all the charges and file for petition to dismiss the case on the premise of prosecutors’ incompetence in preserving court documents that could potentially have proved their client innocent. Also they used the fact that two of acting secretaries at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had not been officially appointed at the time of Josh’s investigation to their advantage.
His motions were however entirely dismissed by the court including the motion to suppress statements that the TV personality allegedly made to federal agents during the investigation.
This is not the first time the actor has been related to something scandalous, since he was accused around 2002, at the age of 14 or 15 of molesting five minors and has even confessed to all of them, saying his actions were both inexcusable and extremely regrettable. His team of counsel has filed for paperwork to prevent their client’s past from recurring in the present scenario.
Anna who is expecting her seventh child with the actor this year, was seen walking hand in hand with him on November 30 to the court at Fayetteville, Arkansas for the start of his trial. Both his parents were required to testify for Duggar, including family friend Bobye Holt, whose daughter Josh had courted sometime during 2003.
A 12 member jury was selected for his hearing one of which was Josh’s brother’s father-in-law but he had to be dismissed due to familial ties. On December 9 he got convicted on two charges of receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material after a six-day trial after convincing evidence against him from all fronts, family or not. His final sentencing is yet to happen but for now he’s been put up for solitary confinement and away from fellow inmates, due to safety reasons.