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Inside Josh Duggar's Secret World After Child Pornography Arrest — Lawsuits, Shocking Molestation Claims, Infidelity

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Apr. 30 2021, Published 2:53 p.m. ET

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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.   

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In the six years following the cancellation of the beloved series, Josh Duggar has faced a number of scandals that have rocked his famous family to the core. As OK! previously reported, Michelle and Jim Bob’s eldest son was arrested on Thursday, April 29, by federal agents in Arkansas.  

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The 33-year-old pleaded not guilty Friday, April 30, to charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. A federal indictment accuses Josh of knowingly receiving child pornography and possessing it in May 2019 — including images of minors under the age of 12, OK! reported.  

Judge Erin Wiedemann set a bond hearing for next week. "Given the nature of the charges against him the court would likely require a third-party custodian that could live with him and would ensure compliance with the conditions of bond," she warned during the hearing, adding that Josh would not be allowed around minors if he were to be released. 

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The arrest was initially thought to be in connection to a federal probe back in 2019. Josh previously had his now-shuttered car dealership raided by Homeland Security. At the time, there was an “ongoing federal investigation,” but no charges have been filed against him yet.   

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OK! takes a look at the controversies and secrets of the troubled Duggar since he rose to reality TV fame nearly 13 years ago.

Molestation Allegations

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.  

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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.  

"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."

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Josh attended a three-month treatment program at 14 in Little Rock, Ark., but was never charged for the molestation claims lodged against him. 

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.  

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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." 

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Josh’s recent arrest came days after his wife announced she's pregnant with the couple's seventh child. On Friday, April 23, Anna shared a video of the sex reveal as the couple stood underneath a transparent umbrella filled with pink confetti. “It’s a GIRL!!!!!” the 32-year-old captioned her Instagram post. “We are overjoyed to announce baby seven is on the way and we can’t wait to hold her in our arms this fall!” 

Josh and Anna share six children: Mackynzie, 11, Michael, 9, Marcus, 7, Meredith, 5, Mason, 3, and Maryella, 17 months. 

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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. 

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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, in October Josh lost the lawsuit after he missed a court date and the property was returned to Echols, NBC-affiliate KNWA reported.  


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