Josh Duggar, a former reality TV star of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting who previously faced allegations that he molested underage girls as a teenager, was charged Friday with receiving and possessing child sexual abuse materials.
Duggar allegedly downloaded child sexual abuse images online and had in his possession material depicting sexual abuse of minors under age 12 two years ago, prosecutors said.
He pleaded not guilty on both counts. His attorney Travis Story did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count if convicted.
Several family members released statements following the charges against him Friday, including his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who called the allegations “very serious” and said they “love Josh and Anna” — Josh Duggar’s wife — “and continue to pray for their family.”
Jinger Vuolo, one of his younger sisters, posted on Instagram that she was “disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh.”
Duggar made his first appearance in federal court on Friday via Zoom, where Judge Erin Wiedemann required that should Duggar post bond, he must stay with a third party in a residence with no minors.
He is scheduled for a detention hearing on May 5.
The 33-year-old was arrested by US Marshals in Arkansas and booked into Washington County Jail on Thursday, just days after Anna Duggar announced on Instagram that they were expecting their seventh child.
Duggar gained prominence from the reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting, which followed the large conservative Christian family as they navigated family life and their religious beliefs.
The show was canceled in 2015 after revelations that Duggar, the eldest child, had molested five young girls when he was a teenager — four of whom were his younger sisters, and one a family babysitter. Two of his sisters told Fox News that his behavior was due to being “a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls.”
He later resigned as executive director of the Family Research Council’s political arm, FRC Action.
That same year, Duggar admitted to being unfaithful to his wife through the extramarital affair website Ashley Madison, and said that he was addicted to porn. He sought treatment at a faith-based rehabilitation center, and in 2016 attended marriage counseling with his wife.
Duggar also lost a civil lawsuit in 2019 in which a man claimed Duggar had illegally purchased his 5-acre property from the man’s cousin.