Josh Duggar sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of child-pornography charges
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/27/2022
Josh Duggar has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after he was found guilty last year of receiving and possessing child pornography.
Josh, 34, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison during his Wednesday, May 25 court hearing, with Arkansas judge Timothy L. Brooks calling the former reality TV star's crimes "the sickest of the sick," according to Us Weekly.
Josh will serve his sentence in either Seagoville, TX, or Texarkana, AR, In Touch Weekly reported.
When Josh is eventually released from prison, he will reportedly face up to 20 years of probation and be prohibited from seeing his seven children unsupervised. He will also not be permitted to own a computer or view adult pornographic content.
Josh and his wife Anna Duggar -- who reportedly said she doesn't consider divorce an option -- share Mackynzie, 12, Michael, 10, Marcus, 8, Meredith, 6, Mason, 4, and Maryella, 2. They also just welcomed a daughter Madyson in October 2021, only six months after Josh's arrest.
During the proceedings earlier this week, Judge Brooks chose to drop one of the two charges against Josh, ruling that the former 19 Kids and Counting star did not knowingly distribute child pornography.
"We're grateful the judge dismissed Count 2 and rejected the Government's request for a 240-month sentence. We look forward to continuing the fight on appeal," Josh's attorney Travis Story told In Touch in a statement.
Judge Brooks will also reportedly recommend sex-offender treatment for Josh, which will be optional.
"We'll immediately file the notice of appeal within the next 14 days, as required by law," Story told reporters outside of the Arkansas courthouse on Wednesday, according to Us.
"Mr. Duggar had a trial, we're now down to one count. We look forward to litigating that one remaining count on appeal."
Josh's sentencing was originally scheduled on April 5, 2022, but Josh's legal team had reportedly filed a motion to delay the hearing by about a month in order to have more time to find additional information and helpful documentation.
In documents obtained by In Touch, Josh's team claimed it had been difficult to schedule necessary meetings amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Judge Brooks approved their request for postponement.
Josh was convicted of two serious charges, receiving and possessing child sexual-abuse material, on December 9, 2021 after seven hours of deliberation by a federal jury and a one-week trial, according to KNWA-TV, the local Fox affiliate in Fayetteville, AR.
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Josh had been taken into custody after the verdict was announced late last year.
Josh initially faced up to 40 years in prison and $500,000 in fines given each of his two charges carry up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.
Josh had been arrested by Homeland Security and taken to a prison in Arkansas' Washington County on April 29, 2021.
Josh had appeared at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas via Zoom on April 30, 2021 and pleaded not guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, Us reported.
In May 2019, Josh allegedly downloaded content of child sexual abuse on the Internet, "some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12," according to a press release.
Prosecutors reportedly claimed the former reality TV star had more than 200 images of children on his computer at his small car dealership and been sharing them online.
Authorities also alleged Josh's computer included a sophisticated dual operating system configuration which allowed him to evade pornography-blocking software that had been installed on the computer's main operating system and configured to report any pornography activity to Anna.
Josh's parents Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar issued a statement to Us about their son's scandal and legal issues at the time of his arrest.
"We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious," the couple said in Spring 2021.
"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."
Josh was originally set to begin trial on July 6, but on June 29, a judge granted his defense team's request to delay the trial date.
While Josh had requested a February 2022 trial, the judge decided to extend the trial date by only several months.
The eldest son of Jim and Michelle was held without bail after his arrest, but Josh's lawyers reportedly claimed during a May 5, 2021 hearing he should be released on bond because Josh was "neither a risk of flight nor a danger to the community."
Josh had been hoping to return home to Anna, who announced in April 2021 that she was expecting her seventh child with Josh.
But due to the fact minors live in Josh's family's home, Josh was ultimately approved to reside with pastor Lacount Reber and his wife Maria Reber for a home-confinement stay after his release last year, according to Us.
After TLC told Us in a statement the network was "saddened to learn about the continued troubles involving Josh Duggar," the network officially canceledCounting On in June 2021 after 11 seasons and almost six years on the air.
"TLC will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On," the network told People in a statement at the time.
"TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately."
A source previously told The Sun people boycotting the show was "hard to ignore" and sponsors were "very concerned" about the charges against Josh.
"The network had already spent money on production after months of filming, but the bottom line is the network really wants to be on the right side of this scandal ahead of Josh's trial," the source explained.
"It was important for bosses to be seen to have taken action. The case has put the show in such a bad light, and although it's a shame for those who worked hard on it, and the money spent, there really is no way forward."
19 Kids and Counting, which starred Josh and his large family, aired on TLC for seven years until it was canceled in 2015 after cheating and molestation scandals involving Josh first rocked his Christian family.
Josh and Anna attempted to avoid the spotlight beginning in August 2015, when Josh admitted he had cheated on Anna and developed an addiction to pornography.
Josh completed a seven-month rehab stint at Reformers Unanimous in Rockford, IL, in early 2016.
At the time, Josh reportedly confessed on the Duggar family website, "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife."
"I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him," he continued.
But once Josh left rehab, he was still wrapped up in a legal battle with Danica Dillon, an exotic dancer at the time who claimed Josh had caused her "physical and emotional injuries" during paid sexual encounters in 2015. Dillon alleged intercourse with Josh was rough and traumatizing.
Reports also surfaced in May 2015 Josh had molested a handful of girls, including his own sisters Jill and Jessa, over a decade prior.
One day before Josh's trial began in November 2021, Jim Bob was called in as a witness for an evidentiary hearing to testify whether Josh's 2015 molestation scandal should be included in the trial, Us reported.
Jim Bob reportedly said he couldn't remember the details from six years prior.
Anna previously said she had known about Josh's alarming past before walking down the aisle in 2008 and had forgiven him, however, it was extremely difficult when Josh's "teenage mistakes" came back to haunt them.
Jessa told People at the time Anna takes her "until death do us part" vows very seriously and personally worked hard to forgive Josh and build trust again.