Josh Duggar’s Release from Jail Comes with Restrictions as He Faces Child Pornography Charges
A judge has decided to release Josh Duggar from an Arkansas detention center as he faces child pornography charges, reports People.
U.S. District Court Judge Christy Comstock ruled that Duggar may be released to “close friends” on Thursday. He will, however, be confined to their home and will be required to use a GPS tracking device.
While she could not “in good conscience” release him to his wife and family, she has allowed him “unlimited contact” with his six children as long as wife Anna is present. Comstock told him, “Don’t make me regret this decision.”
The news comes after Duggar’s lawyers asked for his release from the Washington County Detention Center for the Department of Homeland Security. In court docs previously obtained by “Today,” his lawyers insisted, “Duggar poses no risk of flight or danger to the community.”
The ruling to release Josh was made at a virtual detention hearing, where more details emerged about his child pornography case.
Duggar was arrested Thursday in Arkansas and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the hearing, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Gerald Faulkner testified about the investigation. It was previously reported that the Wholesale Motorcars dealership where Josh works was raided by Homeland Security in November 2019.
According to People, Faulkner said that over the course of three days in May 2019, Josh allegedly downloaded files of children being sexually abused. Faulkner called the images “in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.”
TMZ reports authorities uncovered 200 images depicting naked children and sexual abuse, and that some children were as young as 5.
The files were flagged and traced back to an IP address on Duggar’s computer, which was located at the Wholesale Motorcars dealership, according to People.
Faulkner claims that when agents arrived to the dealership to investigate, Josh “spontaneously” asked, “What is this about? Has someone been downloading child pornography?”
The agent further stated that when asked if he had seen any child pornography or possessed any himself, Duggar allegedly responded, “I’d rather not answer that question.”
They also found “accountability software” on Josh’s computer called Covenant Eyes, which is meant to help with porn addiction. The software sends reports of objectionable online usage to a person on file. In this case, the agent said the program was registered to Josh and reports were going to his wife, Anna.
Faulkner explained that because Josh was using a password-protected network, Covenant Eyes did not detect his usage in this case.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said, “If convicted, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.00 on each count.”
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.”
He continued, “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.