According to People magazine, American reality TV star Josh Duggar came to the Western District of Arkansas Federal Courthouse in Fayetteville on Wednesday to await sentencing for receiving and possessing child pornography.
Josh’s father, Jim Bob, his wife, Anna, and his siblings Joy-Anna (Duggar) Forsyth and Jason Duggar are allegedly present in the courtroom, as are members of the Duggar family, the centre of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty for Duggar, while his attorneys have urged the court in Fayetteville, approximately 140 miles (225 kilometres) northwest of Little Rock, to sentence him to five years in jail.
Investigators testified that images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 onto a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.
TLC cancelled 19 Kids 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 on any possible charges had expired.
Duggar’s parents said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized. After the allegations resurfaced in 2015, Duggar apologized publicly for unspecified behaviour and resigned 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 then sought treatment.
In seeking a 20-year sentence, prosecutors cited the graphic images — and the ages of the children involved — as well as court testimony about the alleged abuse of Duggar’s sisters.
Duggar’s past behaviour “provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children that the Court should consider at sentencing,” federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
Duggar has maintained that he’s innocent and that he intends to appeal, his attorneys wrote in their sentencing memorandum. – AP