After being arrested and held in federal custody, Josh Duggar just entered a plea of not guilty on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. It’s sad to say that the news doesn’t come as a particular surprise. Duggar, the eldest child on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, has a history of abhorrent criminal behavior. His scandals put a stain on the Duggar’s reputation as devout Christians and ultimately led to the series’ cancellation.
Learn about all of the red flags that led up to the arrest and indictment.
Josh Duggar Was On ‘19 Kids And Counting’
Josh Duggar, 33, is the first child of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. From 2008 until 2015, he starred with his family of 21 on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. The reality series documented the lives of the Duggars, a devout Baptist family living in Arkansas. Their atypical family life involved homeschooling the children and, ironically, limiting exposure to pop culture and television.
The Duggars adhere strictly to Biblical scriptures. They used their show as an opportunity to discuss subjects such as purity and faith in front of a broad audience.
Josh benefitted from the family’s fame. His marriage to Anna Keller earned its own special episode titled A Very Duggar Wedding and his D-list celeb status scored him a lobbying job with the ultra-right-wing Family Research Council. The latter was a seemingly perfect fit, given Josh’s claim that his family was “the epitome of conservative values.”
Perhaps Josh could have benefitted from brushing up on Bible passages. When past misdeeds surfaced in 2015, TLC put the kibosh on his family’s series.
Josh Duggar Molested Four Of His Sisters As A Teen
In May 2015, In Touch Weekly dropped a bombshell revelation that when Josh was 14 to 15, he fondled five underage girls, including four of his own sisters. When the outlet obtained an official police report about the offenses, they learned that father Jim Bob had waited a year before contacting authorities.
Jim Bob told them that Josh was sent to “Christian counseling” for the issue. But when police questioned Michelle about the facility, she admitted that “it was not really a training center.” The report continues, “Det. [Darrell] Hignite asked if the guy [redacted, Josh] talked to was a certified counselor. She said no. She said it was a guy they know in Little Rock that is remodeling a building. Det. Hignite asked if the guy was more of a mentor. She said ‘kind of.'”
Josh released the following statement shortly after the report was published:
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
Two of his sisters who were victims, Jill and Jessa, came to his defense on Fox News Channel.
“I’m like, ‘that is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims,” Jessa told Megyn Kelly the following month.
His wife Anna also went public with words of support. “I know who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended,” she said. “Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right.”
Regardless of multiple efforts by the family to protect Josh, sponsors for TLC pulled ads and from 19 Kids and Counting. By July, the show was dropped from the network.
An Ashley Madison Data Breach Revealed He Was Cheating On His Wife
It would take a saint to look past Josh’s transgressions and the family’s attempt to sweep it under the rug. But how do they contend with more recent allegations? In 2015, Josh was one of the many people whose identities were exposed when cheaters’ favorite website Ashley Madison was hacked.
Cybersecurity company Trustify determined that he spent $986 on the website between 2012 and 2015. He described himself as an “attached male seeking female” and sought a woman who had her own “secret love nest” to conduct affairs.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” Duggar said in a public statement. “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
Once again, Josh had found the right words to express his regret. But his future actions didn’t align with them, and this second apology tour wouldn’t be his last.
Duggar Assaulted A Sex Worker In Philadelphia
In November 2015, People learned that adult porn star Danica Dillon was suing Josh Duggar for $500,000 in damages. She claimed that they had consensual sex after meeting in a Philadelphia strip club, but he became aggressive to the point that she “felt as if she were being raped.”
Dillon claims Josh then tricked her into a second tryst the following month, where he allegedly assaulted her again.
Reps for Josh didn’t respond to a request for comment. He was unavailable to answer to the charges himself, as he was checked into a Christian rehab center for porn addiction at the time.
“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him,” he said in a statement before entering the program.
He Was Also Involved In A Gnarly Real Estate Lawsuit
Josh’s pile-up of scandals left him in a financial bind. In October 2020, The Sun reported that he closed a used car dealership and was sheltering his wife and four children in a commercial warehouse owned by his parents.
In the meantime, his company, ALB Investments LLC, was tied up in a bizarre real estate lawsuit. According to Fox News, Josh tried to claim ownership of land that was already in the possession of another Arkansas resident.
Carl Echols said he purchased property from his cousin Edward L. Lewis for $17,500 in the early 2000s. He lived there, maintained it, and paid taxes on it. However, Josh claimed he had purchased it years later for only $1,000. A judge ruled that Echols was the rightful owner.
“In person, he actually seems like a normal person, but as I saw this case progress, the tactics they used were very, very unethical and definitely not Christianlike,” said Echols attorney Kesha Zaffino.
Josh Duggar Was Arrested For Child Pornography
And now Josh Duggar is back where he started. This week, he was arrested and held without bail in Washington County, Arkansas. Sources initially stayed mum about the reason for his detainment.
By Friday morning, the word was out that he was charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. According to court documents, Josh possessed material that depicted the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.
He entered a plea of not guilty, but he remains in custody until a May 5 bond hearing. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for every count he’s found guilty of.
Call us cynical, but we’re awaiting another empty apology. In the meantime, Michelle and Jim Bob issued the following statement:
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and [his wife] Anna and continue to pray for their family.”