Josh Duggar Sentenced to More Than 12 Years for Child Porn

By Julie Roys
Josh Duggar sentenced trial child porn
Former reality TV star and Christian activist Josh Duggar was sentenced Wednesday to 12 ½ years in a federal prison for downloading and possessing child pornography. (Photo courtesy of Washington County Detention Center)

Former reality TV star and Christian activist Josh Duggar was sentenced Wednesday to 12 ½ years in a federal prison for downloading and possessing child pornography, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

A federal jury in Arkansas convicted Duggar in December 2021 of receiving and possessing material showing minors in sexually explicit conduct. The maximum sentence for the conviction was 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Duggar’s team had reportedly asked for a five-year sentence but expressed gratitude about the outcome.

“We are grateful the judge dismissed Count 2 and rejected the Government’s request for a 240-month sentence,” Duggar’s lawyer Justin K. Gelfand told USA Today. “We look forward to continuing the fight on appeal.”

According to the U.S. Sun, Duggar had no reaction when he received the judgment.

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In a statement posted online, Duggar’s sister, Jill Dillard, and her husband, Derick, stated: “We are neither rejoicing nor disappointed by the sentence, but we are thankful it’s finally over . . .

“Though some believe Josh should have received a greater sentence and still fewer believe he should have received a lighter sentence, God has carried out his vengeance today for his unspeakable criminal activity. Until now, he has yet to be held accountable to the extent necessary to cause change in his dangerous pattern of behavior.”

Duggar and his large Arkansas family starred on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” until the network canceled the show in 2015 following revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter.

Duggar’s parents said Josh Duggar had confessed to the fondling and apologized. Though authorities investigated the abuse, they concluded that the alleged crimes wee not prosecutable because the statute of limitations had expired.

Federal authorities said they began investigating the latest case after a Little Rock police detective found child porn files were being shared by a computer traced to Duggar. A federal agent testified in May that images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 onto a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.

Josh Duggar, 34, and his wife, Anna, have seven children together. The couple’s youngest child, Madyson, was born just weeks before the beginning of Josh Duggar’s trial.

A week ago, Duggar’s cousin, Amy King, wrote an open letter to Duggar’s wife Anna on Instagram, telling her “there is no shame in divorcing Josh.”

“No woman wants to be in your shoes,” King wrote. “You’re faced with an impossible decision and you’re being surrounded by the wrong kind of support. . . .

“Josh has chosen how history will remember him. By staying and supporting him you’re allowing him to choose that for you, too. And I know standing up to all of this seems impossible now, but as a Mama, your instinct to protect your kids always has to be stronger than your fear.”

Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, said after Josh’s conviction in December: “In the days ahead, we will do all we can to surround our daughter-in-law Anna and their children with love and support. As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children.” 

Western District of Arkansas Judge Timothy Brooks recommended Josh Duggar serve his sentence in Seagoville federal prison in Texas because it has a “good” program for sex offenders. Brooks also recommended a prison in Texarkana, Arkansas.

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4 thoughts on “Josh Duggar Sentenced to More Than 12 Years for Child Porn”

  1. Robert Simpson

    RE: “We are grateful the judge dismissed Count 2…”. Can you tell us more about this? Was this done as part of the sentencing, or was it earlier in the trial? What was Count 2?

    1. Elaine Normandy

      Duggar was charged with a count of possession and a count of receipt of CSAM. Federal law does not allow you to be punished for both charges for the same act. One of the charges was dismissed without prejudice, which means that there are circumstances in which it could be reinstated without it being double jeopardy. In other words, the defense counsel was thanking the judge for following the law.

    2. Kathleen Zielinski

      I looked it up on the court docket. Count 1 was for receiving child pornography, Count 2 was for possessing child pornography (receiving and possessing are separate crimes). The jury convicted him of both. The judge dismissed Count 2 because it was what is called a “lesser included offense”.

      In other words, suppose you murder someone. As part of the murder, you also committed an assault. The government may charge you with both, just in case the jury thinks the facts will support assault but not murder. That way they can get you on at least one of them. However, the jury thinks the facts support both, so it convicts you of both. But since both crimes were part of the same act, you can only be punished for one of them, so the judge will dismiss the assault conviction and punish you for the murder. The assault is a “lesser included offense” to murder. It’s like the smaller circle inside the bigger circle.

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