Former Reality TV Star Pleads Not Guilty to Child Porn Charges

Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Josh Duggar is being held in a northwest Arkansas jail after being arrested on child pornography charges. (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP)

(CN) — Federal prosecutors have indicted Josh Duggar, the former reality TV star from the canceled show “19 Kids and Counting,” with receiving and possessing child pornography.

According to court documents, Duggar, 33, whose legal dramas in recent years have overshadowed his once-celebrated role as the eldest of 19 children on the TLC reality show, “used the internet to download child sexual abuse material.”

Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

He was arrested by U.S. Marshalls on Thursday and booked into the Washington County Detention Center, and pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment unsealed Friday. He made his initial appearance before Judge Erin Wiedemann Friday morning.

Duggar, of Springdale, Arkansas, faces up to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted on each count. A trial date has been scheduled for July 6.

Along with his Baptist parents and 18 siblings whose names all begin with the letter J, Duggar rode the success of the TLC show documenting their lives for seven years until the network canceled it in July 2015. The cancellation came two months after In Touch Weekly began publishing investigative reports from 2006 detailing claims that Duggar sexually abused four of his sisters years earlier.

Duggar and his sisters sued the magazine and officials in Washington County and the city of Springdale for invasion of privacy in 2017, but their claims were dismissed.

Days after the show’s cancellation, a hack of the cheating website Ashley Madison revealed that Duggar had been maintaining a membership since 2013. He later admitted to being addicted to porn and cheating on his wife.

Duggar, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing on Wednesday. He is represented by attorneys Travis Story and Justin K. Gelfand.

His wife, Anna Duggar, announced April 23 that the couple is expected their seventh child.

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