After his arrest last week on child pornography charges, Josh Duggar has been released on bond
Last week, the repulsive news broke that former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was arrested for receiving and possessing child pornography. During a virtual detention hearing earlier today, Duggar was granted release to third-party custodians while he awaits trial.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas Judge Christy Comstock ruled that Duggar may leave the detention center where he has been held since his arrest last week to the home of Lacount and Maria Reber, friends of the Duggar family. He will be confined to their home and monitored via GPS tracking.
Federal probation officer Diem Nguyen was called as a witness and recommended that Duggar not be released. He cited concerns that the Rebers sometimes have minor children at their residence for piano lessons taught by their adult daughter. Nguyen also said that Lacount and Maria both own firearms but not a firearm safe. “The minors that come to the home causes the probation office some concern, as well as the pistols,” Nguyen said
Maria testified that the family could hold the piano lessons elsewhere and remove the firearms if Duggar is released to their custody. Lacount states the family would ensure that Duggar cannot access their own phones or computers.
At the very least, Judge Comstock stated she “cannot in good conscience” release Duggar to his own home where he would be living with his pregnant wife Anna and their six young kids, who range in age from 17 months to 11 years old.
“Don’t make me regret this decision,” Comstock told Duggar before adjourning.
Sadly, Duggar has been granted “unlimited contact” with his kids providing his wife is present. Duggar is prohibited from seeing any other minor children including his nieces and nephews.
During the hearing, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkner was called as a witness. Faulkner stated that two years ago this month, the FBI Little Rock Office traced materials described as child pornography downloaded through peer-to-peer file sharing torrents to an IP address in Fayetteville. The location was matched to a used car lot owned by Duggar. Agents searched the property later that year seizing computers and Duggar’s iPhone.
According to Faulkner as reported by 5News, Duggar used a Linux partition on one of the computers at the car lot to get around software installed to alert his wife if he accessed pornography. Faulkner says after analyzing the computers and phone, his team found files depicting the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12. The agent says some of the images are among the worst he’s seen in his career investigating child pornography cases. USA Today reports that some of the material depicts abuse of an 18-month-old child.
“It ranks in the top five of the worst, worst I’ve ever had to examine,” Faulkner testified.
Duggar’s jury trial is set to begin July 6 with a pre-trial conference on July 1.
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