Supreme Court Denies Request to Appeal Josh Duggar’s Child Pornography Conviction

Supreme Court Denies Request to Appeal Josh Duggar’s Child Pornography Conviction
Josh Duggar. (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied former reality television star Josh Duggar’s request to appeal his conviction for downloading images of child sexual abuse.

Mr. Duggar, 36, whose large family was featured on the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” was convicted in December 2021 on one count each of receiving and possessing child pornography. As is typical, the court did not provide details on its decision.

Federal investigators launched an investigation after law enforcement in Little Rock, Arkansas, found child pornography files that were shared from a computer traced to Mr. Duggar at a car dealership he owned. A federal agent testified that the images that were downloaded in 2019 depicted the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers. He was sentenced to 151 months in prison.

Lower courts have rejected Mr. Duggar’s argument that his attorneys should have been permitted to ask about the prior sex offense conviction of a former employee of the dealership who had allegedly used the same computer. His lawyers did not ask the former employee to testify after the judge ruled that they could not bring up the prior conviction.

Mr. Dugger has maintained his innocence.

In 2015, TLC canceled the widely popular “19 Kids and Counting” after allegations that Mr. Duggar had sexually assaulted four of his sisters and a babysitter years earlier. The accusations were investigated after authorities received a tip from a family friend. However, charges were not brought after they concluded the statute of limitations on any possible charges had expired.

After the allegations surfaced in 2015, Mr. Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar, said their eldest child had confessed to the “fondling” and apologized privately. Josh Duggar apologized publicly for unspecified behavior and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit group.

Months later, Josh Duggar offered a public apology for cheating on his wife and a pornography addiction, for which he then sought treatment. He and his wife, Anna, have seven children. They have remained married since his incarceration.

Prosecutors were seeking a 20-year sentence, citing the graphic images and ages of the children involved, as well as testimony about the alleged abuse of Mr. Duggar’s sisters.

Federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo that Mr. Duggar’s past behavior “provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children that the Court should consider at sentencing.”

“This past conduct, when viewed alongside the conduct for which he has been convicted, makes clear that Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children and a willingness to act on that interest,” the court document reads.

Prosecutors also pointed out that, according to testimony, Mr. Duggar’s computer had been partitioned to evade the accountability software that had been installed to report his search activity to his wife.

“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the steps necessary to change this pattern of behavior and address his predilection for minor females,” prosecutors wrote.

The Duggars

Jim Bob Duggar, 58, and Michelle Duggar, 57, who married in July 1984, have maintained a family blog since the cancellation of their reality TV show. They have 19 children, whose names all begin with the letter “J,” and numerous grandchildren.

In 2022, Jim Bob Duggar was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate in Arkansas when a photo of the family, snapped as they were walking into a polling place, was printed in The New York Times, according to an entry titled “Our Story.”

“That photo led to a story about the family published in Parents magazine,” according to the blog. “Someone at Discovery Health Channel saw the magazine article, and we soon got a phone call asking if they could do a one-hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children. We felt that it was an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing and a gift from God!”

The couple issued a statement following their son’s conviction.

“In the days ahead, we will do all we can to surround our daughter-in-law Anna and their children with love and support,” they wrote. “As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children. In each of life’s circumstances, we place our trust in God. He is our source of strength and refuge. Thank you for your prayers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times