Inside Josh Duggar's Most Shocking Secrets & Scandals: Child Porn Conviction, Molestation Claims, Infidelity & More
The world was introduced to the Duggar family in September 2008 when TLC debuted 19 Kids and Counting — a series revolving around the seemingly wholesome family. The Duggars’ reality TV world came crashing down in 2015 after the eldest child, Josh, was accused of molesting a slew of underage girls — prompting the series to be cancelled.
In the years following the cancellation of the beloved series, Josh has faced a number of scandals that have rocked his famous family to the core. As OK! previously reported, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's son was convicted on child pornography charges earlier this week — but that isn't his only shocking scandal.
OK! takes a look at the controversies and secrets of the troubled Duggar since he rose to reality TV fame over a decade ago.
Child Pornography Conviction
On Thursday, December 9, the former TLC star was convicted on two charges of possessing and receiving child pornography. He was handcuffed and taken straight into custody following the guilty verdict.
The 33-year-old was arrested back in April after illegal pornographic content was found on a computer at his workplace — including images of minors under the age of 12, OK! reported.
At the time, Josh pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on bond where he was forced to live separately from his wife, Anna, and their children: Mackynzie, 12, Michael, 10, Marcus, 8, Meredith, 6, Mason, 4, Maryella, 1, and newborn daughter Madyson — who was born just weeks before his trial began in November. The famous dad was allowed visitation with his children as long as his wife was present, but he wasn't allowed to be around any other minor children.
Josh's court date was initially set for July 6, although it was moved to late November once the defense requested "more time to review the evidence."
In September, Josh appeared in the attempt of getting his entire case thrown out, to no avail. A handful of other motions filed by his legal team were also denied by the judge.
The defense was, however, successful in getting a comment made about the content found on the computer removed from the record. The Arkansas judge ruled weeks before the trial that a special agent's statement of the child porn being "in the top five of the worst-worst that I've ever had to examine," would not be allowed as evidence as it could "mislead the jury."
During the bombshell trial, the defense tried arguing that the desktop containing the illicit material could have been accessed remotely, meaning that other users could have been the ones viewing the material.
However, the prosecution's expert James Fottrell claimed that there was not a "pattern" of remote access and the password to the operating system matched one that was "ubiquitously used" by Josh.
It didn't seem to matter, though, the court ultimately sided with the prosecution in convicting Josh — who could face up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines for each count.
Following his guilty verdict, Josh was booked into Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he will remain while he awaits his sentencing hearing that will take place at a later date.
In 2015, reports surfaced that Josh had allegedly molested five underage girls — including four of his sisters — when he was a teenager. Siblings Jill and Jessa came forward as two of the victims, telling Megyn Kelly they had “moved on” from the ordeal, reported ET at the time.
The sisters revealed that Josh had touched them inappropriately in their sleep, and they only learned about it after he confessed to their parents. Josh owned up to his transgressions and issued an apology after his sister’s bombshell tell-all.
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"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," he issued in a statement to People. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation," Josh continued. "We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling."
Josh attended a three-month treatment program at age 14 in Little Rock, Ark., but was never charged for the molestation claims lodged against him.
The scandal came back to haunt him during his recent trial, after the prosecution fought to use the prior molestation claims against Josh in court.
While Josh's legal team argued that the past scandal wasn't relevant to the current charges against him, the prosecution believed that it showed "sexual interest in young girls," and was ultimately allowed into evidence.
Marriage Rocked By Infidelity
Josh met his wife, Anna, when she was a teenager at a Christian convention in 2006. The two began courting and tied the knot two years later in September 2008. A cheating scandal rocked their marriage in 2015 after gossip site Gawker reported Josh appeared to have an active account on Ashley Madison — a site dedicated to organizing trysts for married individuals to cheat on their spouses.
Josh ultimately confessed to cheating on his wife, and admitted he had an addiction to porn in an apologetic statement on the Duggar family website.
"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife, his statement read, according to PEOPLE. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him."
Accused Of Stealing Someone's Identity
Two years after admitting to cheating on his wife, amongst other transgressions, the former reality TV star was back at the center of yet another scandal! Radar reported the used-car salesman was hit with a lawsuit accusing Josh of stealing a stranger’s identity to maintain a secret online persona.
The lawsuit, filed by Los Angeles-based DJ Matt McCarthy, alleged that Josh used McCarthy’s personal photos for his own profiles on sites such as the notorious Ashley Madison, OKCupid and even social media platform Twitter. The DJ claimed that as a result of the mistaken identity, he suffered “anxiety, depression, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of self-esteem and extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress” relating to the incident.
A judge ultimately ruled in Josh’s favor in the case, and the charges were dropped.
Shady Real Estate Tactics
In 2019, Josh faced a real estate lawsuit. A man named Carl Echols initially sued his cousin Edward Lewis and Josh’s company, ALB Investments LLC, claiming he purchased property from Lewis for $17,500 in the early ‘00s. Echols argued in court that Josh purchased the land years later for $1,000 without his knowledge while he was still living on the property, according to Fox News.
After a lengthy legal battle, Josh lost the lawsuit after he missed a court date and the property was returned to Echols, NBC-affiliate KNWA reported.