On Thursday (12/9), an Arkansas jury found 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar guilty of downloading child pornography. The 33-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count. Duggar said he would appeal the verdict.
Prosecutors alleged that the prominent family values Christian used a computer at a car lot where he worked to download several pornographic images in May 2019. The photos featured children as young as 7, KFSM reported. Police arrested Josh Duggar in April. Investigators said he used software that partitioned the computer’s hard drive to avoid detection.
The jury deliberated for six hours following several days of testimony, reports said. Police took him into custody immediately after the verdict.
“This verdict also demonstrates that no person is above the law,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Clay Fowlkes said. “Regardless of wealth, social status or fame, our office will continue to seek out all individuals who seek to abuse children and victimize them through the downloading, possession, and sharing of child pornography.”
Though Duggar’s attorneys contend someone else used that computer in his office at the car lot to download the images.
“We appreciate the jury’s lengthy deliberations, we respect the jury’s verdict, and we intend to appeal,” Duggar’s legal team said in a statement to NBC News.
The trial exposed a history of allegations of abuse.
Bobye Holt, a family friend, testified that Josh Duggar confessed to her that he’d molested four girls, including his sisters, when he was 15. The abuse lasted for three years when the girls were between the ages of 5 and 10 years old, reports said.
It is unclear when District Judge Timothy Brooks will sentence Josh Duggar in the case.
Duggar Family Members React to Josh Duggar Guilty Verdict
Jill Duggar Dillard sat in the courtroom Wednesday as the defense wrapped up its case. She was one of two Duggar daughters that accused their brother Josh Duggar of molesting them when they were children.
Jill’s husband Derrick was there for most of the trial. He told People magazine that it was important for him to watch the case unfold in-person to see “justice be done.”
“We just wanted to, among other things, see the facts for ourselves,” he said. “America is the best country to get justice.”
Amy Duggar King, the niece of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, was blunt toward her cousin. She prayed that the “Lord’s justice be served ice cold” Thursday morning. After the verdict, she tweeted that she hoped there could be healing now that Duggar is going to prison.
“May the daughters who were abused feel validated,” she wrote. “You are truly beautiful and worthy of love. May there be intense counseling/healing. May there be wisdom for all those involved on how to move forward. Thank you, Jesus. Justice has been served.”