Disgraced reality TV star Josh Duggar had his 12 1/2-year sentence extended by almost two months after authorities reportedly found he had a contraband cellphone.
In December 2021, a federal jury in Arkansas found Duggar guilty of charges of receiving and possessing child pornography, depicting the sexual abuse of victims “as young as toddlers.” Months later, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks sentenced Duggar to more than a dozen years behind bars. He’s serving his sentence at a low-security prison in Seagoville, Texas.
Prosecutors found the sentence justified by the “depraved” material found on his work computer, behind multiple layers of encryption. One infamous video, titled “Daisy’s Destruction,” depicted the sexual assault of an 18-month-old and was created by Australian human trafficker Peter Scully, who is currently serving a life sentence in the Philippines for his crimes.
The government estimated that they found more than 600 illicit images on Duggar’s computer, though his attorneys dispute that number. Duggar continues to deny having committed the crimes as he pursues an appeal.
In February, multiple news outlets reported that prison authorities transferred Duggar to solitary confinement after finding him “sneaking” a cellphone into prison. A family member of an inmate at the same prison told The Sun that designations to the so-called “Special Housing Unit” (SHU) tend to last for months. Obtaining electronic devices would have been particularly worrisome to prison authorities in light of the crimes of Duggar’s convictions.
Prosecutors say that Duggar went to great lengths to evade detention. His work computer had an anti-porn software called “Covenant Eyes,” which he said he installed after a dump of data hacked from the Ashley Madison website revealed that he had been pursuing extramarital affairs. The software would have alerted his wife Anna Duggar if he accessed pornography, legal or otherwise.
Duggar subverted this system by installing a Linux partition on the computer and then accessed videos and images depicting the sexual abuse of children through multiple levels of encryption. Prosecutors say that he used the Tor Browser to disguise his web-surfing and downloaded illicit materials using BitTorrent.
Federal prison records show that his release date has been scheduled for Oct. 2, 2032. His release previously had been scheduled for Aug. 12, 2032, Fox News reported.
Before his precipitous downfall, Duggar appeared with his mother, father, nine brothers, and nine sisters in the TLC series “19 Kids and Counting.” The conservative Christian activist weathered scandal before with the disclosure of the Ashley Madison hack, followed by reports that he sexually molested his sisters when he and they were minors. He was 12 years old at the time, and they were at least three years young. Josh Duggar later apologized for unspecified “wrongdoing” after In Touch Weekly published a police report about those incidents.
Prosecutors called the unprosecuted allegations of “hands-on abuse” a prelude to his convicted crimes.
“This is not coincidental,” they wrote.
Duggar’s federal prison in Texas did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment. Neither did Duggar’s trial attorney.
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