Josh Duggar, the oldest child of the family featured in the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Arkansas for allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography.
“According to court documents, Joshua James Duggar, 33, allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material,” read a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas obtained by TPM. “Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019.”
He was arrested by U.S. Marshals on Thursday afternoon and was in custody at the Washington County Detention Center in Arkansas before his arraignment Friday.
The indictment was filed on Wednesday. He has been indicted on two counts: receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
If convicted, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 on each count, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Upon his Thursday afternoon arrest, charges were kept under seal. An official at the Washington County sheriff’s office told TPM that he was being held for an unspecified federal department.
At the arraignment in front of Chief Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann, Duggar pleaded not guilty, though the specific charges were not yet public and were not read out loud during the hearing. Minutes after the hearing, TPM obtained the indictment and accompanying press release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Josh Duggar and the rest of his family enjoyed widespread popularity connected to their popular TLC show — which depicted the day-to-day lives of the fundamentalist Christian family — from 2008 to 2015. Duggar’s marriage to Anna Keller was specially featured in a 2009 episode, and the couple is still together today and expecting their seventh child.
The show was cancelled in 2015 when allegations surfaced that Duggar had molested multiple girls from 2002 to 2003, when he was 14 to 15 years old. His sisters were allegedly among the victims. The family spoke publicly about the allegations, though they largely sought to downplay Duggar’s actions.
Soon after the allegations surfaced, Duggar stepped down from his role as executive director of Family Research Council Action, the lobbying PAC associated with the conservative Christian FRC organization.
“In good faith I cannot allow Family Research Council to be impacted by mistakes I made as a teenager, so I am resigning as Executive Director of FRC Action,” he wrote at the time.
Later in 2015, a data breach of Ashley Madison, a site for people looking to cheat on their partners, revealed credit card information under Duggar’s name. In a statement, Duggar said that he’d developed a porn addiction and had “become unfaithful” to his wife.
Read the indictment here: