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Josh Duggar Sentenced To Over 12 Years In Prison On Child Pornography Charges
The family of the former "19 Kids and Counting" star was in the courthouse when a judge vacated one of his convictions for the possession of child pornography. He was then sentenced him to more than 12 years in federal prison on the remaining charges for which he'd been convicted.
Disgraced reality TV star Josh Duggar has been sentenced to more than 12 years behind bars for receiving child pornography.
The former “19 Kids and Counting” star was sentenced to serve 151 months — just over 12-and-a-half years — in federal prison, according to NBC Northwest Arkansas affiliate KWNA. Wednesday’s ruling comes after a highly-publicized December trial at which Duggar, 34, was found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography in 2019.
As part of the agreement between prosecutors and Duggar’s defense, the court vacated one of Duggar’s convictions for possession of child pornography without prejudice, meaning that authorities could refile charges at a later time, according to People. The judge called the count the lesser of Duggar’s two convictions.
Part of Duggar’s sentencing also requires he pay $50,100 in fines and special assessments.
Western District Attorney Clay Fowlkes addressed the media just after Judge Timothy L. Brooks made his decision, per KWNA.
“It demonstrates that no one person is above the law, no matter their wealth, their social status, or anything else,” Fowlkes told reporters. “We will continue to investigate these cases, no matter who the defendant turns out to be, and we will continue to use every tool available to us to make sure that justice is served in these cases.”
Prosecutors previously sought the maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars, citing Duggar’s “deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children.” Others, including Duggar’s mother, reality TV matriarch Michelle Duggar, pleaded for leniency.
Duggar’s family — including his parents, some of his siblings and his wife, Anna Duggar, who have publicly supported him throughout his legal woes — were also at the Fayetteville courthouse on Wednesday.
Duggar reportedly turned and smiled at Anna, with whom he shares seven children, after the judge’s decision to vacate the conviction for possession, according to People. However, Duggar remained stoic when the 12-and-a-half year sentence was handed down.
The defendant declined to address the court.
Duggar was arrested in 2021 after an investigation by Homeland Security unearthed images of sexual abuse against children on his work computer. Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkner previously referred to some of the images as being “in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.”
The images reportedly included a series titled “Daisy’s Destruction,” which depicted the sexual abuse of an 18-month-old toddler.
“This case, this trial, this sentence, is for the victims of child abuse,” said D.A. Fowlkes. “This case shows that these children are subject to some of the worst kinds of abuses imaginable. The children depicted in the photos and the videos that were introduced in this case were subjected to that horrible treatment."
“This case shows that those children’s pain is real [and] that their suffering is real,” he added.
Upon his prison release, Duggar will be subjected to 20 years of supervised parole, according to People. He will also be restricted from pornography of any kind and required to attend treatment aimed at rehabilitating sex offenders.
He will also have limited to access to electronic devices without prior permission from his parole officer. Those devices must also be installed with internet-monitoring software.
Part of Duggar’s release will also include unannounced searches and possible polygraph testing, should his parole officer see fit.
Duggar’s legal team objected, arguing against the ban on adult pornography and possible polygraph testing, but the judge overruled the objection.
Duggar’s defense attorney, Justin Gelfand, said he plans to file a notice of appeal within the 14-day window permitted by law.