Josh Duggar Arrested on Federal Charges, Pleads Not Guilty

Josh Duggar is seen in a booking photo taken on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Credit: United States Marshals Service)

Josh Duggar, a former reality TV star and conservative political activist, pleaded not guilty  Friday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Duggar entered his plea via Zoom, local television station KNWA Fox 24 reported.

He was taken into custody Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service, according to a statement obtained by Urban Hollywood 411 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Arkansas. The father of six is charged with receiving and possessing materials depicting the sexual abuse of children.

“Joshua James Duggar, 33, allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material. Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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 Duggar was taken into custody on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Credit: United States Marshals Service)
Duggar was arrested Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Booking Sheet Credit: United States Marshals Service)

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

Duggar and his family are best known for their TLC series 19 Kids and Counting. The reality show ran from 2008 to 2015, and was initially titled 17 Kids and Counting, with the name changing as the family expanded.

Brought up in a conservative Christian household in Arkansas, Josh is the oldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

In 2015, tabloid reports surfaced saying Josh had abused five underage girls, including two of his sisters. He acknowledged abusing the girls when he was a teenager, and also confessed to cheating on his wife, having an addiction to po**ography, and entered rehab.

TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting in response to the scandal.

“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 cable network said in July 2015.

The network ran a one-hour special featuring sisters Jill and Jessa Duggar, as well as other survivors and families affected by the scandal, as part of an initiative to raise awareness about child abuse.

As the controversy erupted, Josh resigned in 2015 from a position he held with the Family Research Council — a fundamentalist Christian group with a mission to “advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview.”