Appeals court upholds Josh Duggar’s conviction for downloading child sex abuse images

Little Rock, Ark. — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld Josh Duggar’s conviction for downloading child molestation images, rejecting the former reality TV star’s argument that a judge should have suppress the statements he made to investigators during the search for those images.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of Duggar, whose large family is at the heart of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Duggar was sentenced in 2021 and is serving a 12 and a half years in prison.

Federal authorities investigated Duggar after police detective Little Rock discovered child sexual abuse material being shared by a computer originating from Duggar. Investigators testified that images depicting sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 on a computer at a car dealership that Duggar owned. .

Duggar’s attorneys argued that statements he gave to investigators during the agent’s search should not have gone to trial because his attorney was not present. Prosecutors said Duggar asked agents, “’What’s all this about? Has someone downloaded child pornography?” and he declined to say whether he viewed the material online, comments that were later used as evidence in the trial.

The appeals panel said that although Duggar had read his rights, the agents who questioned him made it clear that he was not detained and was free to leave. The panel also noted that he was not arrested at the end of the interrogation.

“Conversely, he ended the interview on his own and then left the agent – virtually no option available to the person in custody,” the court ruled.

Justin Gelfand, Duggar’s attorney, said they disagree with the court’s reasoning and will evaluate all options.

The court also rejected Duggar’s argument that his attorneys could have asked about the previous sex offense record of a former employee of the agency who used the same computer. Duggar’s attorneys did not ask the former employee to testify after the judge ruled they could not mention a criminal record.

The panel ruled that the judge in the case struck the right balance by allowing the former employee to be questioned without bringing up a conviction in the past. The court also dismissed Duggar’s challenge to the qualifications of the analyst who testified that the former reality star’s iPhone metadata connected him to the crime.

TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 following allegations that Duggar sexually abused his four sisters and a babysitter years earlier. Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend but concluded that the statute of limitations on all possible charges had expired.

Duggar’s parents said after allegations resurfaced in 2015 that he had confessed to the cuddling behavior and apologized privately. Duggar later apologized publicly for the unspecified behavior and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. Months later, he also publicly apologized for cheating on his wife and admitted he was addicted to pornography, after which he sought treatment.

Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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