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Josh Duggar Charged For Possessing Child Pornography, Facing 20 Years In Prison

Apr. 30 2021, Updated 3:04 p.m. ET

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Josh Duggar has been charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography following his Thursday arrest in Arkansas.

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On Friday, the embattled reality star and oldest of the 19 Kids And Counting brood appeared before U.S. District Court Western District of Arkansas Judge Erin Wiedemann via a video call, where he was formally charged.

According to court documents, the 33-year-old father of six (with one on the way) is being accused of downloading child sexual abuse material, some of which allegedly showed children under the age of 12. He is accused of being in possession of such material in May 2019.

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Source: Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Anna Duggar/Instagram

If convicted, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count.

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The judge ordered Josh to remain in custody at the Washington County jail until his detention hearing on May 5, adding that if bond is granted, he will need to "live in a home without minors."

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Duggar's case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide movement to combat the epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of children on the internet.

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Duggar was first taken into custody Thursday and placed on a federal hold, with the details surrounding his arrest remaining relatively scarce until Friday.

Shortly after the arrest, though, Josh's younger sister – 29-year-old Jill Duggar Dillard – said, "We just learned this information. It is very sad." Though his wife – 32-year-old Anna Duggar – has not commented on her husband's current legal matters, she did come out swinging when a troll came for her man and the family's finances on social media last week.

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In 2015, Duggar was investigated by the Springdale Police Department regarding allegations that he inappropriately touched five girls who were minors – including four of his sisters and a babysitter – when he was 14 years old. However, no known charges were filed against Josh because the statute of limitations, which at that time was three years, had expired by the time the investigation was launched.

"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," he said in a statement at the time. "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."

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Last year, the ex-TLC star lost a real estate lawsuit over a fraudulent deal.

In November of the year prior, Homeland Security agents raided the now-closed car dealership where he worked – Wholesale Motorcars in Springdale, Arkansas – reportedly in connection with a federal probe.

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At the time, Homeland Security Investigations spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation at the location but would not go into details.

Duggar's most recent legal woes come less than a week after he and his wife announced they were expecting their seventh child together – a baby girl. Married since 2008, Josh and Anna are already parents to Mackynzie Renée, Michael James, Marcus Anthony, Meredith Grace, Mason Garrett, and Maryella Hope.

The Duggar family rose to fame on the hit TLC series 19 Kids And Counting, which ran for seven years until its cancellation in 2015. The show documented the life of a large, Southern family made up of devout Baptists, headed by strict and conservative parents Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar. Together, they had 19 children – nine daughters and ten sons – all of whom have names that begin with the letter J. During the duration of the show, two children were born (the series was formerly titled 17 Kids And Counting and then18 Kids And Counting), three kids got married and four grandchildren were added to the mix.

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