Former reality TV star Josh Duggar was sentenced to around 12½ years in prison on Wednesday after being convicted last December of receiving and possessing child pornography.
Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks to give the maximum sentence of 20 years to Duggar, whose large family was the focus of TLC’s investigation. 19 children and counting. They argued in a pre-sentencing filing that Duggar had a “deep, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children”.
Arkansas TV station KNWA reported that the judge sentenced Duggar, 34, to 151 months in prison.
Duggar, whose lawyers have asked for a five-year sentence, maintains his innocence and said he would appeal.
Images plotted on Duggar’s computer
Duggar was arrested in April 2021 after a police detective from Little Rock, Ark. discovered that child pornography files were being shared by a computer traced to Duggar. Investigators testified that images depicting sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 to a computer at a car dealership owned by Duggar.
A Fayetteville, Arkansas jury found Duggar guilty last December.
TLC canceled 19 children and counting in 2015 following allegations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter years earlier. Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend, but concluded that the statute of limitations for any possible charges had expired.
Duggar’s parents said he confessed to the touching and apologized. After the allegations resurfaced in 2015, Duggar publicly apologized for unspecified behavior and quit as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.
Months later, he publicly apologized for cheating on his wife and a pornography addiction, for which he later sought treatment.
Prosecutors have called for a 20-year sentence
In asking for a 20-year sentence, prosecutors cited the graphic images – and the ages of the children involved – as well as court testimony about alleged abuse by Duggar’s sisters.
Duggar’s past behavior “provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children that the Court should consider in sentencing,” federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
“This past conduct, viewed alongside the conduct for which he was convicted, makes it clear that Duggar has a deep, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children, and a willingness to act in that interest,” the court filing said. court. .
Prosecutors also noted that Duggar’s computer was partitioned to evade accountability software that was installed to flag his wife for activities such as porn searches, experts say.
“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the necessary steps to change this behavior and address his predilection for underage women,” prosecutors wrote.
Duggar maintained he was innocent and intended to appeal, his lawyers wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
“Duggar accepts that he is before this Court for sentencing and that this Court must impose a sentence,” his lawyers wrote. “That is justice. But Duggar also appeals to the discretion of this Court to temper that justice with mercy.”