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Josh Duggar sentenced to federal prison in child sex abuse images case

Prosecutors said the former reality TV star had a “deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children.”
/ Source: TODAY

Josh Duggar, former star of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting," was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on federal charges of downloading and possessing child sex abuse images.

"While this is not the sentence we asked for, this is a lengthy sentence," U.S. attorney David Clay Fowlkes said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors had called for the Fayetteville, Arkansas judge to sentence Duggar to 20 years in prison on the grounds that he had a "deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children," reported the AP.

Duggar's legal team requested a five-year sentence. They said he will appeal the court's decision.

Related: Ministry affiliated with Duggar family falls from grace

In April 2021, the 34-year-old reality star and father of seven was arrested for downloading photos and videos portraying the sexual abuse of children, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Duggar pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In December, Duggar was convicted of "receipt and possession of child pornography," carrying a possible sentence of anywhere from five to 20 years of imprisonment.

Related: Josh Duggar found guilty in child sex abuse image trial

After his conviction, Duggar's parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who, along with their 19 children, starred on the television series from 2008 to 2015, released a statement about the "grievous ordeal."

The conservative Christian couple vowed to "surround our daughter-in-law Anna and their children with love and support." Josh and Anna wed in September 2008.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar added, "As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children. In each of life’s circumstances, we place our trust in God. He is our source of strength and refuge. Thank you for your prayers.”

Related: Jill Duggar's husband says 'public was deceived' by Duggar parents

Duggar starred on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” until it was cancelled in 2015 over revelations (separate from the current charges) that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized.

“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,” Josh said in a statement in May of 2015.

The following month, Josh confessed to having a pornography addiction and cheating on his wife.

A spin-off show featuring the Duggar family, “Counting On,” was canceled in June 2021.

“TLC will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On,” the network told TODAY Parents in a statement. “TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately.”

Related: Judge releases Josh Duggar pending trial in case involving child sex abuse images

As previously reported by TODAY, during Duggar’s pre-trial hearing in 2021, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkne, said that files on Duggar’s computer were the “top five worst I’ve ever had to examine.”

Other family members have distanced themselves from Duggar.

In a social media post after Duggar's guilty verdict, his sister Jinger Duggar Vuolo said, “We are thankful to God for exposing Josh’s actions and to a legal system committed to protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty in this case.” 

Amy King, known to fans of the show as "Cousin Amy," posted a photo last week of her embracing Anna, Josh Duggar's wife, with a caption pleading with her to consider divorcing Josh.

"Someday your kids will be old enough to understand what kind of guy their father really is," King wrote.

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