Josh Duggar Indicted for Child Pornography

By Jackson Elliott

Josh Duggar, the former TLC reality TV show star and advocate for family values, was indicted today for receiving and possessing child pornography.

In a court appearance today over Zoom, Duggar, who’s 33, pleaded not guilty to both charges.

According to a federal indictment, Duggar downloaded child pornography from the Internet between May 14 and May 16, 2019. Some of the videos he allegedly downloaded included children under 12 years old.

Duggar was a star on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” where he appeared alongside his Christian parents and their 18 children. He later worked as the executive director of the Family Research Council.

Duggar is a married man with six children and a pregnant wife.

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The charges filed against Duggar today are federal charges because the pornography crossed state lines. For each charge, Duggar faces 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release emailed to The Roys Report.

Duggar’s lawyers said in a press release email that they intend to defend his case “aggressively.”

“In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime,” said the law firm representing Duggar. “But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom—and that is exactly what Josh intends to do.”

A federal judge set a detention hearing for Duggar on May 5, and a trial date for July 6.

The case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation, the DOJ press release said. Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children both investigated Duggar’s case.

Still, it’s unclear whether a November 2019 raid by the Department of Homeland Security was related to Duggar’s charges. When reports of the raid first came out, the Duggar family called them “fake news.”

It’s not the first time Duggar has been accused of sexual misconduct.

In 2015, it was reported that Duggar had molested underage girls as a teenager, including some of his own sisters. The Duggar family learned about Josh Duggar’s abuse in 2002 but didn’t make public for 13 years.

In 2015, the public also learned that Duggar had been a member of Ashley Madison, a website for married people looking for adulterous relationships. In the same year, Duggar checked himself into long-term rehab for pornography addiction.

The family was part of the Independent Baptist denomination, an extremely conservative Christian movement.

The family tells its members to live by a strict set of rules. Women shouldn’t wear pants; women should not have jobs; sex is for procreation; and birth control is forbidden.

 Some speculate that the Duggars were also part of the “Quiverfull movement,” a group that has said women are subject to men and it’s the responsibility of women to not tempt men into sexual activity.

The Duggars used material from this group to teach their kids. One worksheet used by the Duggars said sexual abuse was sometimes the victim’s fault for dressing immodestly.

In a statement on their site Friday, Josh’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, responded to the most recent charges against their son.

“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” they said. “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.”

This story has been updated.

Jackson ElliottJackson Elliott is a Christian journalist trained at Northwestern University. He has worked at The Daily Signal, The Inlander, and The Christian Post, covering topics ranging from D.C. politics to prison ministry. His interests include the Bible, philosophy, theology, Russian literature, and Irish music.

 

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39 thoughts on “Josh Duggar Indicted for Child Pornography”

  1. What makes me the most upset about all this is not just deep sadness for his wife Anna and her pain now, but for those who look at this story and it just becomes re-confirmation for them of how hypocritical “Christians” can be (I use quotes because I DO NOT believe Josh is a Christian).

    Households with extreme fundamentalist lifestyles (of any faith) are breeding grounds for insanity, pornography addiction/sexual problems, and terrible mental health problems.

    What a sad sad day for the body of Christ.

  2. If Josh were put away for a few years (and it looks like it will probably happen), it would get him off the radar of publicity and hopefully give him the opportunity to get his life together away from the limelight. i always put the Duggars in the same category as Octomom-weird families for the entertainment of the masses. Josh definitely has some serious issues that need to be addressed, but how do you do that when your family wants you to be both perfect and marketable?

    1. He has not been a public figure for a very long time. This is a matter of ongoing perversions. This man is 33 yrs old and his perversions have been documented for 20 years now, including the molestation of numerous young girls, including his own sisters.

      It is a fact that sexual crimes have the highest recidivism rate of all crimes. Which places sexual offenders to re-offend into extremely high numbers, creating the need for Sexual Offenders Neighborhood Watch maps, etc.

  3. Could I make two small quibbles in the midst of a deeply concerning article? Independent Baptists are not a “denomination.” They are fiercely independent, and cover a spectrum of beliefs on practical matters, which leads to my second quibble. This article is written in a way that would lead the reader to believe that the practices of the Duggars (specifically a ban on birth control) is an IFB belief. This is not true. While there certainly are some within the world of IFBs who would hold to that position, it is not a majority position among those who would self-identify as Independent Baptists. Just wanted to clarify. I spent my teenage years in an IFB church, and while I have moved into another part of Evangelical Christianity, there are many within that movement who would not at all be accurately described by the portrayal in this article.

    1. Brian… I understand your concern. However, the article does not say the denomination holds positions like forbidding birth control. It says, “The family tells its members to live by a strict set of rules,” which include not using birth control.

      1. Brian Dempsey

        Thanks Julie, it may have been a formatting issue. There is now a paragraph break between the sentence about the denomination and the sentence about “the family tells its members…” When I originally read it, they were in the same paragraph, and the flow seemed to lend itself to being misunderstood. Like I said, probably a format issue on my device.

    2. I grew up in an IFB church, attended The WILDS summer camp, and applied to Bob Jones University for a masters degree. I get what you’re saying – like there’s no denomination conference like the SBC or a Presbytery, but there are veins of fundamentalism like Bob Jones/Pensecola in the southeast, Hyles/Anderson in the midwest … it’s just… odd. My pastor wouldn’t make a decision without calling Bob Jones University. He wouldn’t allow the choir to sing music that wasn’t written by Mac Lynch. While those that are IFB may act fiercely independent, they aren’t really. Of course, there are varying view points but that’s true across other denominations too.

  4. We need to pray for this young man, his life is a train wreck and his wife is expecting their 7th child. What he did, if true, is heinous, It appears from his history that he has struggled with a lot of sexual addictions and needs some serious help. Whatever we think of his parents, they need prayer too as they have to bear this also

    1. Headless Unicorn Guy

      Yes, he “struggled with sexual addiction” since molesting his sisters in his teens. (Of which the family response was to lock the girls into a single large bedroom every night.) But Daddy (and Daddy’s friends in High Places like the Huckabees and that Pedo Cop) made sure Little Josh never ever got into trouble for it.

    2. Re: His parents—Let’s not forget that THEY are terribly responsible, also—for helping formulate these reprehensible choices, as well as enabling and protecting this monster!

    3. I am disgusted that so many are showing concern for Josh but not for all of the victims of child porn, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. . . . . his victims. Josh has clearly had issues for a long time. His parents should have shown more concern for their daughters and the other girls that Josh molested as a teen and had him arrested or sent away long ago. Maybe that would have protected his future victims. I do have concern for his wife and children. Anna needs to leave him and protect herself and her children. Child porn, sexual abuse and sex trafficking are rampant in the USA. There would not be such a big problem if there wasn’t a demand for it. We, as Christians, need to stop ignoring and covering up this problem just so we can save face or make more money. How many more children will be abused before we stand up to this heinous act.

      1. This, so much this. Thank you, BLT. Our prayers should be crying out to God for the victims of the child sexual abuse imagery Josh was viewing.

        As for Josh himself, I will say what Jesus said: Better a millstone be hanged around his neck and he be cast into the sea.

      2. He has caused serious horrendous damage to female children. I don’t care what his problems, sickness, mental illness, etc. I don’t care.

        They will have horrors in their life forever because of him.

        Even if the victims learn how to deal with it. He must pay for this to show them the have worth. Lock him up & leave him there. His victims are psychologically tortured in so many ways, for life.

        These are children. He’s a monster walking.

        That’s the story here.

        WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN.

    4. The fact that this family allowed their lives to be made into a TV show should have been a tip off from the start that there was something wrong.

      1. The dad is a disgusting control freak and the wife is also disgusting. I watched the show a couple of times and from the first show a creepy feeling came over me. She’s been pregnant non stop for twenty years. Not normal and he just comes across as someone who always HAS to be right and I’m the father and head of this household. Yuck. Not surprised by any of this. And whoever watched this show and kept the ratings up, look in the mirror. Your also the problem.

  5. If this is true…It is time his wife take the children to safety. He cannot be allowed unsupervised visitation under any circumstance. She has chosen to ignore his disrespect of her and their marriage, and that’s her choice, but this is a whole different beast. And it’s a progression of porn nonetheless. So many females in these are underage and come from a history of sexual molestation, rape and abuse. It is her responsibility above all else now to focus on, protect, and keep those children safe.

    1. Child sexual abuse Is not a progression of porn. Pedophilia is not normal, and you have to have a sexual perversion to sexually desire children. Please don’t try to normalize this, it is abhorrent abnormal.

    1. Let’s remember he plead not guilty. Maybe he is guilty but in the USA he has to be proven guilty. I am praying the truth will come out.
      As a nation, as a Church, we need to have a plan to help these men when they are young. Hard to do if there aren’t enough role models for them.

      At least it appears it want ongoing. Maybe he feared getting caught?

      1. Not ongoing? Josh molested his sisters, including one who was according to the Duggars “too young to know she was touched inappropriately” when he was 14 and 15, engaged in sexual violence with prostitutes in his 20s, and now at 33 has been caught with child sexual abuse imagery, including of children the same age as his own.

        How is this not ongoing sexual perversion?

        1. You are right Lea. When I was writing that I was referring to May 14 to May 16, 2019. I Was referring to the latest charges.Maybe he didn’t “fully recover.”

    2. Absolutely. The Bill Gothard/IBLP “theology” to which the Duggars subscribe is so focused on female submission that it teaches that sisters are to “serve” their brothers, and not to contradict them or challenge them lest their fragile male “headship” be damaged.

      Josh grew up being taught that what a man wanted he should get, and that the purpose of women was to give it to him. It shows in the perverted sexual demands he made of first his sisters (the abuse also included a non-family member), and later of prostitutes.

  6. This man needs to see the inside of a prison cell for a significant period of time. Perhaps that will be the rock bottom that opens his eyes to his need for repentance.

    1. Nick – Is prison actually going to fix him? Can he repent for something he might see as wrong?

      I’m actually asking because I don’t know the answer here. Passing time in a prison cell will not change his desires.

      If you consider some of the things people are in prison for, some are relatable and some are a mystery. I don’t recommend stealing a nice car, but I can totally understand why someone would want to steal a nice car. Drugs (for a short time) produce good feelings, and it’s understandable how someone could make bad decisions from drugs, landing them in jail. The list goes on with things like embezzling money, tax evasion and so on because there is a payback that most of us can appreciate. When it comes to harming small children, that’s not a “normal” desire that anyone can understand. That’s a long way to say I don’t think it solves this problem as a means of rehabilitation. It keeps him out away from most of society (a good thing), but not more than that.

  7. Stefany Harrington

    Whoa….something is missing from this story.

    Duggar is accused of “downloading” child pornography between May 14-16, 2019. Supposedly, this pornography crossed state lines which predicated the DHS’ involvement.

    Then “a raid was conducted in November, 2019”. A raid of what? Where? And why did it take 18 months to put together an indictment? Who else is involved in procuring this porn?

    Suffice it to say: whatever porn Duggar was watching is NOT available on regular adult sites, like Pornhub.

    Nor does this hayseed seem tech-y enough to access the Dark Web or gutsy enough to procure disgusting Thai child porn. So…where did he get it? And from whom?

    1. Wow, it is insanely easy to get CSAM. I am shocked at your ignorance. Until last year porn hub has thousands (perhaps millions? I forget) of csam or potential csam. It is out there for anyone who is gross enough to want it, and as an aside “dark web” doesn’t always mean “hard to access.”

    2. Homeland Security raided a (now closed) used car lot run by Josh Duggar in November of 2019, and seized computer equipment. They have probably been combing through the hard drives of that computer looking for evidence and making certain that the could tie it to Josh’s IP address and accounts.

      Real-life justice is not a “Law & Order SVU” episode. Real investigations take time. Federal prosecutors will not take a case to a grand jury until they have dotted as many i’s and crossed as many t’s as possible in order to get an indictment and be as certain as they can that they can convict “beyond a reasonable doubt..” (I spent some time working in the Federal courts as a legal assistant, so I know of where I speak.) These things can take much time in the best of circumstances, and the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed things down even more. But as a wise person once said: “the wheels of justice grind exceedlingly slow, but exceedingly fine.”

      And don’t assume that Josh Dugger is a “hayseed” who doesn’t know his way around the web. When news broke of his abuse of his sisters, there were also reports that in his late teens, he was removed from a volunteer role on a Congressional campaign in Arkansas, because he was caught looking at porn online. He knew enough to set up an Ashley Madison account, and set up a Facebook account using a picture and identifying details stolen from another man’s account, in order to make contact with women who were not his wife. (He was sued in civil court by the man involved, but I believe the case was settled.) Josh is not as dumb as he seems.

  8. You know, given that the QAnon followers who hang out here claim to be all about protecting children, you’d assume they would be all over the Josh Duggar and Matt Gaetz stories.

    Bu it seems they only care about making wild claims that they are protecting children from the “liberal elite”.

    When the pedophiles turn out to be conservatives, these so-called “truth seekers” go strangely silent.

  9. Part of me wonders what happened to Josh that this is what he’s become? But more and more it seems like some people are just born bad (and I’m not talking about our common sinful nature).

  10. This entire family is a den of serpents. The very best thing one can say about them is they are lunatic cultists. They make MacArthur look totally grounded and Biblical. We wonder why conservative Christianity is about the least popular philosophy in America right now?

    1. Replying to Whitehorse.

      Not enough. Not nearly. Not even close.

      CHILDREN ARE BADLY INJURED FOR A LIFETIME.

  11. I just read that over 200 images of children under 12 were found on his computer.
    Josh’s defense?
    Homeland Security can’t prove that he looked at those pictures.
    Does that sound like a repentant predator?

    1. Of course the mere possession of it is a federal crime.

      You know what is also ironic, he had Covenant Eyes on his computer.

      So this hayseed was tech savvy enough use a browser to download the child porn from the Dark Web and used a workaround that did not trigger the software of Covenant Eyes.

      This should tell you two things.

      1. Exactly how useless Covenant Eyes
      2. Josh did not do any of this accidentally.

      1. Brian Dempsey

        I don’t find Covenant Eyes to be useless. For someone who legitimately wants to avoid porn, Covenant Eyes is a great tool and helpful resource. It is “useless” as a control mechanism…it’s can’t change someone’s behavior. I think there’s an important distinction to be made there.

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