Former reality TV star Josh Duggar has been jailed for around 12½ years after being found guilty of receiving child abuse footage.
Duggar was arrested in April 2021 after a Little Rock police detective discovered files being shared by a computer assigned to him.
Investigators testified that images depicting sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 to a computer at a car dealership owned by Duggar.
He was also convicted of possessing child sexual abuse images in December, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks threw out that conviction after ruling that under federal law it was a an offense included in the number of child sexual abuse images.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to give him the maximum sentence of 20 years, whose large family was featured on TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting.
They argued in a pre-sentencing filing that Duggar had a “deep, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children”.
But yesterday the judge sentenced Duggar to 12 years and seven months in prison, a day after rejecting a defense motion to overturn the guilty verdict on insufficient evidence or order a new trial.
US Attorney David Clay Fowlkes said he was satisfied with the sentence.
Speaking outside the courthouse, he said: “While it’s not the sentence we’re asking for, it’s a long sentence.”
Duggar, whose lawyers have requested a five-year sentence, maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
Defense attorney Justin Gelfand said he was grateful that District Judge Brooks declined to impose the full 20-year sentence prosecutors are seeking.
He said: “We will immediately file the notice of appeal within the next 14 days.”
TLC canceled the show 19 Kids and Counting in 2015 following allegations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter years earlier.
Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend, but said the statute of limitations for any possible charges had expired.
Duggar’s parents said he confessed and apologized.
After the allegations resurfaced in 2015, Duggar later publicly apologized and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.
A few months later, he made another apology for cheating on his wife and a pornography addiction, for which he later sought treatment.
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