Josh Duggar Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges
Josh Duggar, a former star of “19 Kids and Counting,” appeared in court on Friday after he was arrested by federal agents in Arkansas Thursday.
Duggar is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “He 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.”
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and will remain behind bars at Washington County Detention Center for the Department of Homeland Security until at least May 5.
During the court appearance, local news station 40/29 reports, Judge Erin Wiedemann said Duggar — a father of six — is not to be around any minor children if released, adding, "Given the nature of the charges against him the court would likely require a third-party custodian that could live with him and would ensure compliance with the conditions of bond.” His bond hearing is set for next week.
The DOJ states, “If convicted, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.00 on each count.”
After the arrest, Josh’s sister Jill and her husband Derick Dillard told People in a statement, "We just found out this information yesterday. It is very sad."
Later, his parents Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statement. They told People, "We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious."
They continued, "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."
In 2015, it became public that Josh had been accused of molesting five girls, four of his sisters and a babysitter, when he was a teenager in 2006. In the wake of the revelation, the family’s show “19 Kids and Counting” was canceled.
At that time, Josh told People in a statement, “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. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation.”
“We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
While he has been largely out of the spotlight since the scandal, just last week Josh and his wife Anna announced they are expecting their seventh child.
Josh is the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s 19 children.