Josh Duggar child porn case: All the restrictions he's under while out on bond

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·7-min read
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - APRIL 29: In this handout photo provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, former television personality on
Josh Duggar's April 29 booking photo on child pornography charge. (Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

Josh Duggar's child pornography case is expected to go to trial on July 6 in Fayetteville, Arkansas — so here's what will happen between now and then.

The 33-year-old former 19 Kids and Counting star, who pleaded not guilty to charges of receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children, is officially out on bail, effective Thursday at 1:35 p.m. He ditched his gray striped jail-issued jumpsuit, which he wore for his detention hearing Wednesday, as he left the Washington County Detention Center with his attorney — taking no questions about the more than 200 images and videos depicting childhood sexual abuse found on his work desktop at his used car lot.

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While Judge Christy Comstock made the point multiple times Wednesday that the charges against him are very serious — and noted that the approximate ages of the children in the material downloaded in May 2019 "are very close to the ages of your children," who range from age 11 to 18 months — she allowed him to be released on bail. It was a personal recognizance or PR bond, meaning Duggar wasn't required to post any money, despite a Homeland Security Investigations special agent testifying that the downloads on Duggar's computer are the "worst of the worst" of child pornography.

(Screenshot: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas)
Duggar was released Thursday on a personal recognizance bond, meaning he paid no money to be freed. (Screenshot: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas)

Upon his release, Duggar wanted to return home to his pregnant wife, Anna, and their six children. However, Comstock could "not in good conscience" allow that as they reside in a guest house on the property of his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and there are five or six of his minor siblings residing there. So Duggar is living with third-party custodians — a couple, LaCount and Maria Reber, who are friendly with his parents through church. LaCount is a pastor who counsels inmates and testified that he wanted to help Duggar, noting it was God's plan for him. Maria testified that she barely knows Josh, having only said hello to him a few times, but agreed to house him because her husband agreed to it. In her testimony, she expressed concern about being left alone with Duggar because, charges aside, she's uncomfortable being alone with a member of the opposite sex other than her husband. However, she said her daughter, who is in her young 20s, would be with her the majority of the time.

Duggar is living in a mother-in-law-type part of the couple's 5,000-square-foot home on 20 acres in Elkins, Ark., which has its own entrance/exit. He will have GPS electronic monitoring and is restricted to the residence at all times — except for a long list of things: employment, education, religious services, medical care and treatment, attorney visits, court appearances, meetings with a probation officer or other activities approved in advance by the probation office. (The judge specifically requested that he doesn't ask to attend children's birthday parties, where kids other than his own may be.)

Duggar
There are many conditions of Duggar's release, including appearing at his trial on July 6 at 9:30 a.m. (Screenshot: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas)

Duggar is not allowed to use the internet at all — or any device that has internet access. Comstock instructed him to "go to Target" to get a JitterBug phone without internet so he can conduct business, though it's unclear what he does professionally as the car lot was closed not long after it was raided by Homeland Security Investigations in November 2019. He's not allowed to view pornography of any kind‚ and can't use any controlled substances or alcohol and has to surrender any firearms. (The Rebers, who have gun licenses, must remove the guns from their home as well.) Duggar, who must surrender his passport, is limited to the Western District of Arkansas, which includes Washington, Benton and Madison counties, unless he obtains advance permission.

As far as what he can do, he has "unlimited contact" with his children "as long as their mom is present," the judge said. Comstock made the point, however, that he's "to have no other contact with a minor child," including siblings, nieces and nephews, children of friends or minor visitors at his custodians' home. 

(Screenshot: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas)
Among the conditions of Duggar's release is that he can not possess or view pornography of any kind. He can have supervised visits with his children. (Screenshot: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas)

After Comstock made her ruling to release him, prosecutors put an objection on the record to Duggar's contact with his children. They offered to provide more testimony from investigators regarding attempts to conduct forensic medical examination of Duggar's kids but provided no further information. Earlier, they also spoke about Duggar molesting four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a teen.

The judge said if Duggar violates the conditions — or if he breaks any federal, state or local law while out — it would increase potential jail time by up to 10 years for a felony or one year for a misdemeanor. Duggar already faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

During the hearing, the government stated that Duggar could be living with the Rebers for up to six months. However, his jury trial is currently set to begin on July 6 at John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building in downtown Fayetteville. A pre-trial conference is set for July 1.

(Screenshot: Washington County Detention Center)
The Washington County Detention Center updated its website to reflect that Duggar was released on bond Thursday. (Screenshot: Washington County Detention Center)

At the trial, HSI agent Gerald Faulkner is expected to testify, as he did for the detention hearing. He oversaw the case and conducted the raid at Duggar's car lot, calling the over 200 images of child porn recovered on Duggar's work desktop the "worst of the worst" in the over 1,000 child porn cases he's investigated. Faulkner is also expected to testify about his interview with Duggar during the raid, including how, before the agents said what they were searching for, Duggar asked, "What is this about? Has someone been downloading child pornography?" He also allegedly admitted to having installed a dark web browser on the desktop.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar pose during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Anna and Josh Duggar in 2015 — before it was exposed, via the Ashley Madison hack, that he was cheating on her. (Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, there is a petition circulating calling for the network TLC to cancel the 19 Kids and Counting spin-off Counting On that features the Duggar family. There are more than 18,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

"The Duggar family should no longer have a platform," the Change.org petition states. "Josh Duggar molested his sisters and as of April 29, 2021 he has been arrested (by federal authorities) for child pornography. This family should no longer be allowed to collect money from streaming services and television series. Enough is enough. Too many people have been harmed."

A rep for TLC did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment about the petition — or whether there are plans to remove the shows from its properties.

Duggar has been no stranger to scandal during his time in the spotlight. 19 Kids and Counting was canceled in 2015 after it was revealed that years earlier, when he was a teen in 2002 and 2003, Duggar molested five young girls, including four of his sisters. At the time, he publicly apologized for having "acted inexcusably." That same year, it was exposed that he was using the website Ashley Madison to enable extramarital affairs and he publicly apologized to Anna for being "the biggest hypocrite ever."

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