Josh Duggar: The evil allowed into our living rooms
Josh Duggar, best known for the reality TV series ‘19 Kids and Counting’, is all set to face trial in December for child pornography charges. As per reports, jury selection for his case will start on November 30 in the Western District of Arkansas Courthouse in Fayetteville. The 33-year-old is facing one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography charges.
If found guilty of all charges, he would be sent behind bars for up to 20 years. He would also be asked to pay fines of up to $250,000 on each count. Though it's the first time that Josh Duggar will face a trial, he is not new to controversies and serious accusations. For the child pornography case, he was arrested on April 29, but accusations regarding his inappropriate behavior date back to around two decades ago.
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2002-2003: During this time, Josh Duggar was 14-15 years old and he reportedly confessed to having “inappropriately touched'' five young girls, four of whom were his sisters. But instead of reporting him to the police, his father Jim Bob Duggar met with the family's “church elders” and sent his son to live away from his family.
In July 2003, when Josh returned home, his father and the church elders brought him to an Arkansas state trooper, Joe Hutchens, who did not charge him as a minor. Reports said that “Jim Bob knew Hutchens personally. Hutchens did not take any official action and instead gave Josh a ‘very stern talk’.”
December 2006: Oprah Winfrey and the Duggar family were scheduled for an interview together, but then an anonymous person sent an email to the producers and told them that someone in the family was molesting another member of the family while sleeping. The unnamed source also added that Jim “lies to his church and his friends to [make] him look good.”
Soon the interview on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ was canceled and the Department of Human Services Hotline was informed. The local Arkansas police then questioned Jim and his wife Michelle Duggar on a child-abuse hotline tip, as well as the anonymous mail received by Harpo Productions. But reportedly, “the time in which charges could be filed expired before Springdale police received an anonymous tip” in 2006.
The next few years went fine for the Duggars during which Josh got married to his wife Anna Keller. The then-show ‘17 Kids and Counting’ also featured the birth of the first three kids of Josh and Anna. But then in 2015, the allegations against the eldest Duggar brother began resurfacing.
May 2015: Gawker — blog founded by Nick Denton and Elizabeth Spiers — published an article, titled ‘The Web Has Known About Josh Duggar for Years. When Did TLC Find Out?’ Also, a report by InTouch stated that the rumors were actually correct. Josh Duggar then confirmed that he was wrong years ago as in a Facebook post as per USA Today, he said, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
He also added: “We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption.”
Also, as a result, ‘19 Kids and Counting' was pulled off the air by TLC. Jim and Michelle then appeared on Fox News to present their side of the story. They said that “the bigger story is how Josh's police records were released (under a Freedom of Information Act).” Josh's father also added that he wanted to sue to “protect juvenile records because mistakes juveniles make when they're young should be sealed.”
July 2015: ‘19 Kids and Counting’ was permanently canceled. In a statement, TLC said: “After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with '19 Kids and Counting.' The show will no longer appear on TV. The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.”
The network also added that it will work with the organizations RAINN and Darkness to Light, and “with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa [Duggar] and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.”
August 2015: A month later in August, another bombshell revelation came out. A hack disclosed that Josh was a customer of Ashley Madison — “an online dating service and social networking service marketed to people who are married or in relationships.” Josh then admitted to it and said in a statement: “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.”
2019: A search operation was carried out at Josh’s car dealership by the Department of Homeland Security. A special agent later claimed that Josh’s HP desktop computer, as well as his personal Macbook laptop, had an “accountability software” — called Covenant Eyes — installed. The software is “designed to help you and those you love live free from pornography”. But he had installed a Tor Browser, so that he reportedly can easily access the dark web without being tracked by Covenant Eyes.
April 2021: Josh was taken into custody. In a media release, Federal prosecutors said he “allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material”. The findings were made after the 2019 seizure of his HP desktop computer and Macbook laptop. After his arrest, Jim Bob and Michelle said, “We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. 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.”
Also, Josh's sister Jill and her husband Derick Dillard stated: “This is just very sad for our family.” His other sister Jinger and her husband Jeremy Vuolo added, “We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh. While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice.”
May 2021: Josh was pressed with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography charges, but he pleaded not guilty to those charges. A federal agent testified that the suspect “downloaded and possessed 65 images of child pornography and a two-minute video featuring young girls between the ages of 5 and 10.”
Judge Christy Comstock ordered house arrest for Josh as he awaits trial. The judge “said the former '19 Kids and Counting' star must be under home confinement with a GPS monitor, and may only leave for work, education, religious activities, or for medical issues. She also forbade him from any contact with minor children apart from his own six children, whom he can see if his wife is also present,” according to Insider.