UPDATE (5/6/21 3:10pm EST): The Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Josh Duggar was released from jail on May 6.
UPDATE (5/5/21 8pm EST): Josh Duggar will be getting out of jail, but he won’t be heading home. During his May 5 hearing, Judge Christy Comstock ruled that the former 19 Kids and Counting star will be released to the custody of “designated third party custodians, Lacount and Maria Reber, described in court as ‘close friends’ of the Duggar family,” PEOPLE reports.
Josh will be under home confinement at the couple’s residence while wearing a GPS tracking device. Comstock is allowing Josh “unlimited contact” with his six children, provided wife Anna is present at all times. He is prohibited from seeing any other minor child, including his nieces and nephews, according to the publication. Josh must to report to a probation officer and is not allowed to have possession of the internet and electronics, and is prohibited from viewing erotica at any time. Josh also must surrender his passport and not possess any firearms. Should Josh violate any of these rules, an additional prison sentence of up to 10 years may be imposed pending the outcome of his July trial.
Federal probation officer, Diem Nguyen recommended to the court that Duggar not be released from jail. “The probation officer said the Rebers sometimes have minor children over for piano lessons with their adult daughter, and that both Lacount and Maria owned firearms but not a firearm safe,” PEOPLE reports. “The minors that come to the home causes the probation office some concern, as well as the pistols,” Nguyen said.
ORIGINAL: In a Wednesday, May 5 court hearing, the specifics in the possession of child pornography case against Josh Duggar were laid out and the alleged information is truly horrifying. The 33-year-old former 19 Kids and Counting star appeared via a zoom call from Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he’s been held without bail since his Apr. 29 arrest. Special Agent Gerald Faulkner from Homeland Security testified that Josh allegedly had a computer containing images in one file that depicted child sex abuse involving kids ranging from 18 months to 12 years of age, according to PEOPLE.
Faulkner called the images “in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.” He testified that Homeland Security in May 2019 confiscated a computer from the car lot where Josh worked after a Little Rock, AR police detective had traced the flagged files to Duggar’s IP address on a computer at his workplace, Wholesale Motorcars dealership.
The agent alleged that during that raid on the car dealership, Josh was not told it was in connection with child porn, but that he “spontaneously” responded, “What is this about? Has someone been downloading child pornography?” The publication reports that Duggar was “asked point blank about seeing or having child sex abuse material in his possession,” and he allegedly said, “I’d rather not answer that question.”
Josh was arrested on Apr. 29 by federal agents and charged the following day with receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Arkansas. Josh was also accused of allegedly downloading child pornography that depicts the sexual abuse of children under the ages of 12, in May of 2019.
The former 19 Kids and Counting star is the father of six children with wife Anna Duggar, 32. She’s currently pregnant with the couple’s seventh child — a daughter — due in the fall of 2021. His kids range in age from 11-year-old eldest daughter Mackynzie to one-year-old daughter Maryella. Josh has asked to be released on bail so that he can go home to be with his pregnant wife and children, claiming that he’s not a flight risk because his face is so familiar from being a reality star for so many years.
Josh became embroiled in scandal in 2015, when it was revealed that years earlier as a teen he had confessed to his father Jim-Bob Duggar to molesting four of his younger sisters. While Jim-Bob later told a state trooper friend about it, Josh was never formally charged in the case and eventually the statute of limitations ran out. But it was enough for TLC to cancel 19 Kids in July 2015 when the molestation story became public.
Things got even worse for devout Christian Josh when it was revealed he had several accounts on the married adults seeking affairs website Ashley Madison. Josh then admitted to having a serious porn addiction, as well as being unfaithful to Anna. In an Aug. 20, 2015 statement, Josh admitted, “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. 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.”
He then referenced the molestation of his sisters, saying, “I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust.” Josh checked in to a faith-based in-patient rehab center in Illinois for a six month stay. Anna stood by his side and forgave him, and the couple went on to have two more children following his return to Arkansas, and now have another baby on the way.