FAYETTEVILLE – A Springdale man was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison without the possibility of parole on one count of receiving child sex abuse material following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Fayetteville.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Joshua James Duggar, 34, repeatedly downloaded and viewed images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including images of prepubescent children and depictions of sadistic abuse. In addition to the 151-month sentence, Duggar must serve 20 years supervised release, register as a sex offender, and pay $50,000 in fines.
Duggar, a former reality television personality who appeared with his family on the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting, installed a password-protected partition on the hard drive of his desktop computer at his used car lot in Springdale to avoid pornography-detecting software on the device. He then accessed the partition to download child sexual abuse material from the internet multiple times over the course of three days in May 2019. The password for the partition was the same one he used for other personal and family accounts. Duggar downloaded the material using the dark web and online file-sharing software, viewed it, and then removed it from his computer.
“Possessing and viewing child exploitation material is not a victimless crime – every time it’s downloaded or shared, it perpetuates the trauma and re-victimizes the child,” said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Dave Denton. “Our special agents are deeply committed to investigating these crimes and pursuing anyone, regardless of circumstances, who preys on innocent members of our society.”
Law enforcement in Arkansas detected Duggar’s activity during an undercover investigation involving the online file-sharing program, subsequently searched his car lot in November 2019, and seized Duggar’s desktop computer as well as other evidence. Significant evidence was found that pointed to Duggar’s presence at the times of the offenses, including pictures that Duggar took on his phone that geolocated at or near the car lot. Duggar also sent multiple timestamped text messages to various individuals that indicated he was at the car lot at the relevant times; the messages were sent, and the iPhone pictures were created, at times within minutes of when the child sexual abuse material was downloaded or displayed on the desktop computer. Additionally, he was the only paid employee on the lot at those times.
On December 9, 2021, a federal jury in the Western District of Arkansas convicted Duggar of receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.