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Josh Duggar sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in child sex abuse image case

Duggar was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison after a federal investigation found he downloaded the images on his work computer in 2019.
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Former reality TV star Josh Duggar was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday for receiving and possessing child sex abuse images, officials said.

Duggar, 34, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison and ordered to pay fines and special assessments totaling $50,100, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Arkansas.

Duggar was found guilty in December of two charges of "receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct."

Federal prosecutors contended that the "19 Kids and Counting" star downloaded the images on his work computer in May 2019, and used a Linux partition to circumvent software that monitors internet use. The files included "images of prepubescent children and depictions of sadistic abuse," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Law enforcement detected the activity during an undercover investigation of the online file-sharing program that Duggar used, and found "significant evidence" that Duggar was the only paid employee present when the files were downloaded, the office said.

He faced up to 20 years of prison time.

Presiding Judge Timothy L. Brooks dropped one charge and ruled that Duggar didn't knowingly distribute child sex abuse images.

"We're grateful the judge dismissed Count 2 and rejected the Government's request for a 240 month sentence," Justin Gelfand, an attorney for Duggar, said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to fight on appeal."

Duggar's wife, Anna, and father, Jim Bob, who both appeared on "19 Kids and Counting," were present during the sentencing. His sister Joy-Anna Forsyth and brother Jason Duggar also attended.

The family did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

In a statement following Duggar's guilty verdict in December, his parents offered their support to Duggar’s wife and children, and said, "This entire ordeal has been very grievous."

"As parents, we will never stop praying for Joshua, and loving him, as we do all of our children," Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in the statement at the time.

Upon his release from prison, Duggar is forbidden from having any unsupervised contact with minors, including with his own children, and must participate in sex offender-specific treatment, according to the sentencing memo.

Duggar also isn't allowed to view any pornography, even pornography depicting adults.

Unless it's for work, Duggar isn't allowed to possess, use or have access to any electronic devices with internet or photo storage capabilities without approval from his probation officer. He must also comply with adding monitoring software to any electronic device he does use, and will be required to submit to polygraph testing at the probation officer's discretion, the memo said.

Duggar also isn't allowed to purchase, possess, use, or distribute marijuana, and cannot obtain a medical marijuana card or prescription, according to the memo.

Duggar's friends and family wrote letters to the judge before Wednesday's sentencing. His wife described him as a "kind, loving, supportive and caring father and husband." His mother Michelle wrote, "Joshua has a tender heart and he is compassionate toward others."

During the trial, Duggar's family friend Bobey Holt testified that Duggar confessed to molesting teenager girls, according to NBC affiliate KNWA of Rogers, Arkansas.

TLC canceled "19 Kids and Counting" in 2015, following revelations that Duggar molested five children, including four of his own sisters. Two of his sisters spoke about the alleged abuse, which Duggar was never charged with, in an interview with Fox News that year.