’19 Kids’ Fame to Child-Porn Conviction

March 2003: 15-year-old Josh Duggar is temporarily sent to live away from his family after his father, Jim Bob, reportedly learned of multiple incidents where Josh molested his younger sisters.

Jim Bob Duggar Michelle Duggar

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.

Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images


In 2015, InTouch acquired a police report made in 2006, which can now be viewed on hosting site Imgur, that shows statements provided by Jim Bob, the patriarch of the Duggar family.

According to the report, Jim Bob first found out about Josh’s behavior in 2002, when one of the girls said the eldest Duggar brother was touching her breasts and genitals as she slept.

The police report alleges that Josh molested four of his sisters while they slept, and at times while they were awake.

As Gawker previously reported, there were five sisters living in the Duggar house at that time, ranging in age from five to 12.

The police report goes on to detail, according to Jim Bob’s statement, how Josh admitted to some of the incidents.

Jim Bob did not contact authorities at the time he learned of the first allegations, and said he instead disciplined Josh and tried to prevent the alleged molestation from happening again.

Only when he was made aware of further molestation incidents did Jim Bob meet with the family’s “church elders” and decided Josh would be sent away from March to July 2003, according to the police report.

July 2003: Josh is brought to a state trooper, who takes no official action.

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Josh Duggar speaking during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28, 2015.

Kris Connor/Getty Images


According to the 2015 InTouch report, Jim Bob and the church elders brought Josh to an Arkansas state trooper upon his return home in 2003. But the trooper, Joe Hutchens, did not charge Josh with any crimes.

“Jim Bob knew Hutchens personally,” InTouch reported. “Hutchens did not take any official action and instead gave Josh a ‘very stern talk.’”

A local northwest Arkansas news outlet reported in 2012 that Hutchens was sentenced to 56 years in prison after pleading guilty to child-porn charges himself.

September 2004: The Duggar family appears on their first TV special.

duggar family

The Duggar family.

Beth Hall/AP


Discovery Health did a segment on the Duggar family called “14 Children and Pregnant Again!” which aired as a 43-minute documentary special.

December 2006: The “Oprah Winfrey Show” schedules the Duggars for an interview, but then receives an anonymous email outlining the earlier molestation accusations against Josh. The interview is canceled.

Duggar family

The Duggar family.

D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra


As detailed in the police report obtained by InTouch, Harpo Studios had already flown the Duggar family to Chicago for their on-air interview when producers were contacted anonymously.

Per the police report, the email tip included a warning about someone in the family molesting another member of the family while sleeping, and said Jim Bob “lies to his church and his friends to [make] him look good.”

Producers cancelled the Duggars’ appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and faxed the letter to the Department of Human Services Hotline.

December 2006: Local Arkansas police interview Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to follow up on a child-abuse hotline tip, as well as the email sent to Harpo Productions.

Jim Bob Duggar (L) and his wife Michelle Duggar (R), supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, attend a Pro-Life rally  in Columbia, South Carolina, on the steps of the State House in this file photo from January 14, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane/Files

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar attend a Pro-Life rally.

Thomson Reuters


According to local reporting from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2015, “the time in which charges could be filed expired before Springdale police received an anonymous tip” in 2006. No action was taken at that time.

The statements taken in these 2006 interviews make up the bulk of the police report obtained by InTouch.

September 2008: The Duggar family’s reality TV show premieres on TLC.

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The TLC series was eventually renamed as Jim Bob and Michelle had more children.

TLC


At the time called “17 Kids and Counting,” the Duggars were one of many family-based reality shows on the network.

Josh, the oldest child of parents Jim Bob and Michelle, was 20 years old when the show first aired. At the time of the premiere, the rest of the siblings ranged in age from less than one-year-old to 18.

October 2008: Josh’s engagement to Anna Keller was highlighted on an episode of “17 Kids and Counting.”

Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar at 2015 CPAC conference Getty Images

Anna and Josh Duggar in 2015.

Kris Connor/Getty Images



Over the next few years, Josh’s marriage and the birth of his first three children were prominently featured in storylines on the show.

May 19, 2015: InTouch publishes its bombshell feature on the 2006 police report detailing molestation accusations against Josh.

Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar.

Brian Frank/Reuters


Up until this point, the allegations had gone unreported by major news sites.

Gawker outlined the way that the molestation “rumor” was brought up on blog posts and “17 Kids and Counting” fan forums as far back as May 2007, but the InTouch report was the first mainstream reporting of the incidents.

May 21, 2015: Josh appears to confirm the molestation allegations in a Facebook post responding to the InTouch report.

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Josh Duggar in 2015.

Kris Connor/Getty Images


“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,” Josh, then 27 years old, wrote on Facebook, according to USA Today.

“We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing,” continued Josh, according to the Washington Post, “and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”

Josh also resigned from the Family Research Council where he was working as a lobbyist.

In 2002, Jim Bob had run in the primaries for a Republican senate seat. His platform had included the stance that “rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes,” THR reported in 2015.

May 22, 2015: The Arkansas police destroy the investigation record into Josh on orders from a judge.

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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their family on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.”

TLC


A police spokesman told the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper that Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered that they “expunge that record,” despite similar records usually being kept “indefinitely.”

“As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned, this report doesn’t exist,” the spokesman said.

June 3, 2015: The Duggar parents appear on a Fox News special, acknowledging that four of Josh’s victims were their daughters. They say they believe they can save their TLC show.

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Duggar Seewald.

TLC


As USA Today reported, the Duggars believed “the bigger story is how Josh’s police records were released (under a Freedom of Information Act), and they threatened to sue.”

Jim Bob said they wanted to sue to “protect juvenile records because mistakes juveniles make when they’re young should be sealed.”

Jessa and Jill Duggar, two of the younger siblings, also spoke with Fox News and said they were two of the girls Josh had molested years earlier. Jill, then 24 years old, said that the news coverage of the police report was “a revictimization that’s a thousand times worse because this is something that was already dealt with.”

She continued: “We’ve already forgiven Josh. We’ve already moved on.”

“I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying,” Jessa, then 22 years old, told Fox News. “I’m like, ‘That is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”

July 2015: TLC cancels “19 Kids and Counting.”

Jim Bob Duggar

Jim Bob Duggar.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images


“After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with ’19 Kids and Counting.’ The show will no longer appear on the air,” the network said in a statement. “The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.”

TLC said it planned to air a one-hour documentary about child sexual abuse later that year as part of an initiative with partnered organizations RAINN and Darkness to Light.

“TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa [Duggar] and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse,” the statement said.

August 2015: Josh admits to using “cheating” website Ashley Madison, and says pornography became a “secret addiction” for him.

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Josh Duggar and the marketing image for Ashley Madison.

AP, Ashley Madison


After a hack led to the outing of Josh as a customer of Ashley Madison, a site that promotes providing “discreet” encounters for married people, he released the following statement: “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.”

As CNN reported, Duggar’s initial statement was later amended to “omit the reference to pornography.”

“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,” Duggar said at the time.

2019: Agents at the Department of Homeland Security execute a search warrant at Josh’s car dealership.

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The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle.

Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images



Though this raid would be unknown to the public until 2021, we now know that Josh’s


desktop computer

at his Arkansas business was recovered in a 2019 search.

A special agent later testified that both the HP desktop computer and Josh’s personal Macbook laptop had an “accountability software” installed. The program, called Covenant Eyes, is designed to monitor the internet activity of people with pornography addictions. The program then sends reports to an “accountability partner” (in this case, internet usage reports were sent to Josh’s wife, Anna).

Josh also had installed a Tor Browser that provided access to the dark web, allowing him to browse without being detected by Covenant Eyes, according to the agent.

April 30, 2021: Various members of the Duggar family share statements about the new allegations against Josh.

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The Duggar Family blog post shared on April 30, 2021.

The Duggar Family



A statement from Jim Bob and Michelle posted on their official family website on April 30 reads: “We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”

In a statement sent to Insider via email, Josh’s sister Jill and her husband Derick Dillard said, “This is just very sad for our family.”

Jinger, another of Josh’s sisters, and her husband Jeremy Vuolo, shared a statement via Instagram on April 30: “We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh.”

“While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice,” the statement from Jinger continued.

May 5, 2021: The judge rules Josh can be released from jail pending trial under certain conditions.

Judge Christy Comstock said Josh could be released from jail into the custody of a family friend while he awaited trial on the two charges.

Comstock said he must be under home confinement with a GPS monitor, and may only leave for work, education, religious activities, or for medical issues. She also forbade him from any contact with minor children apart from his own six children, whom he can see if his wife is also present.

December 9, 2021: Duggar is found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography.

A number of law enforcement officials and experts testified during the seven-day trial about the various disturbing images and videos they found on Duggar’s computer, which they said included material involving children under the age of 12, including an infant.

Witnesses said Duggar had partitioned his work computer’s


hard drive

so that he could dodge anti-porn “accountability” software that reported all of his internet activity to his wife.

Duggar’s defense attorneys made the case that someone else remotely accessed Duggar’s computer and downloaded the child pornography. They presented their own forensic investigator who suggested Duggar had been the victim of a “hit and run” hacking scheme. The jury ultimately didn’t buy the argument.

Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge. Judge Timothy Brooks said sentencing could happen in April, according to KNWA Fox 24.

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