Entertainment

Former reality TV star Josh Duggar convicted of child porn possession

A federal jury in Arkansas has convicted Josh Duggar, the eldest son on the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, of downloading and possessing child pornography

Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting fame, faces up to 20 years in prison, fines of up to $250,000 per count

Josh Duggar, former star of TLC reality series 19 Kids and Counting, speaks at the Arkansas state capitol on Aug. 29, 2014. Duggar, the eldest of the family's 19 children, was convicted of downloading and possessing child pornography on Thursday. (Danny Johnston/The Associated Press)

A federal jury in Arkansas on Thursday convicted former reality TV star Josh Duggar of downloading and possessing child pornography.

The jury in Fayetteville, about 225 kilometres (140 miles) northwest of Little Rock, found the 33-year-old Duggar guilty on one count each of receiving and possessing child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 US for each count when he's sentenced at a later date.

Duggar and his large Arkansas family starred on TLC's 19 Kids and Counting until the network cancelled the show in 2015 following revelations that he had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend but concluded that the statute of limitations on any possible charges had expired.

Duggar's parents said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized. Duggar later apologized for a pornography addiction and for cheating on his wife.

The judge in the child porn case ruled that jurors could hear testimony about how in 2003, Duggar admitted to molesting four girls. A family friend testified that Duggar told her about the abuse.

The Duggar family poses for a photo in 2008, shortly after parents Jim Bob and Michelle announced they were expecting their 18th child. Josh Duggar could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 per count for downloading and possessing child pornography. (Beth Hall/The Associated Press)

Federal authorities said they began investigating after a Little Rock police detective found child porn files were being shared by a computer traced to Duggar.

A federal agent testified in May that images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 onto a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.

Duggar's attorney argued that someone else downloaded or uploaded the images onto Duggar's computer. But the jury wasn't swayed.

Duggar's father, Jim Bob Duggar, who also starred on the reality show, is running in a special election for a vacant state Senate seat in northwestern Arkansas. He previously served in the Arkansas House.

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