Josh Duggar, who became famous in the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting”, has been found guilty of both charges of downloading and possessing child pornography by a jury, on Thursday. The 33-year old was found guilty by a jury in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He could face up to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000, when he is charged, after four months. Fayetteville station KNWA said that Duggar was in custody.
The political activist and father of seven had already been in a sexual abuse scandal when he was a teen. He had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. He had apologized after admitting to other behavior such as an addiction to porn. He also said that he had cheated on his wife, Anna.
A federal grand jury in Arkansas indicted Duggar. It said that he had “knowingly received images of children under the age of 12.” A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office said that that Duggar allegedly possessed material which depicted sexual abuse of children.
Duggar had been on trial from last week. The defense and the prosecutors painted two different portraits of the same man. The prosecutors said that he was a sophisticated criminal, who deliberately sought depraved content that portrayed the abuse of children, online.
The defendants said that he was a naive businessman. He was a local, homeschooled GED. He had been exploited by someone else and the horrific images on his computer had been hacked or exploited by a former employee or someone else whom they were unable to name.
His wife Anna and a few family members watched the trial from the front row. His father Jim Bob and other family members were at the federal court in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Thursday. After the verdict was read, they left the court. They did not speak to the press.
Justin Gelfand, who is one of Duggar’s lawyers said in a statement that they appreciated the lengthy deliberations of the jury and they respected the jury verdict and that they intended to appeal.