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HSI investigation leads to 12-year sentence for former reality television personality

FAYETTEVILLE – A Springdale man was sentenced today 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.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.

HSI Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, the Little Rock Police Department, and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carly Marshall and Dustin Roberts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas and Trial Attorney William G. Clayman of CEOS prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423, or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial (802) 872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY (802) 872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), ICAC partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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