Inside Josh Duggar's downfall from reality star to arrest on child pornography charges as he faces 20 years in prison

JOSH Duggar's trial on child molestation charges is nearing its second week, and life has changed for him in the last couple of years.

The former 19 Kids and Counting On star is fighting for his freedom against a litany of charges, years after he was also accused of inappropriately touching underage girls -including some of his sisters.

It's a tragic tale for the ultra-religious Duggar family, who are devout Baptists, and frequently include conversations of purity, modesty and faith in God.

So where did Josh go wrong? A look back at his troubled life paints a bigger picture.

Josh was born in Tontitown in Washington County in Northwestern Arkansas, on March 3, 1988.

He was the first of 19 children born to Jim Bob and Michelle, and was an original member of the family's reality show, even allowing cameras to document his wedding in 2008 to wife Anna in an episode titled A Very Duggar Wedding.

Josh's downfall began in May 2015 when a police report from 2006 was unearthed, revealing sexual molestation allegations against the Duggars' eldest son.

The 33-page report revealed that Jim Bob told police that Josh fondled the breasts and genitals of several young victims while they were asleep in the Duggar family home.

The incidents all allegedly happened between 2002 and 2003 when Josh was 14 and 15 years old.

In a bombshell revelation, the police report indicated that four of the five molestation victims were his own sisters.

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In May 2002, a still-reeling community voted against Jim Bob, and the career politician lost a primary bid for the Republican Senate seat to Senator Tim Hutchinson in Arkansas.


Jim Bob and Michelle were made aware of two more incidents where Josh touched an underage victim.

In one situation he allegedly touched his victim while she was sitting on his lap, and in another, he was accused of putting his hand up his victim's dress in a family laundry room.

Elders at the Duggar family church agreed that Josh needed treatment.

Jim Bob tolds cops that Josh went through a Christian counseling program from March 17 to July 17, where he "did manual labor and had counseling," according to the 2006 police report.

Josh's parents and church elders told an Arkansas state trooper about the incidents after Josh completed his treatment.


In May 2015, the news broke.

Josh took to Facebook to apologize for the allegations, penning "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 wrote in a statement.

Josh resigned his position at the Family Research Council on May 21, 2015.

After his resignation, FRC president Tony Perkins said: "Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved."


In June, 2015, Jim Bob and Michelle appeared on television for the first time since news of Josh's sex abuse allegations broke.

The Duggar parents confirmed that four of Josh's victims were their daughters including young Jill and Jessa.

The couple argued that Josh's records should have never been released under the FOIA and they threatened to sue.

On July 16, 2015, the show was officially canceled.

"After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting," a statement on the network's website said.

"The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection," it continued.

The network claimed it planned to release a one-hour special featuring the Duggars and some of the families affected by the abuse.


Just three months later, a new report claimed Josh was using the adultery dating service Ashley Madison.

Josh said in a statement: "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 has become a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife."

Soon after, porn star Danica Dillon, whose real name is Ashley Johnston, claimed he assaulted her during a sexual encounter.

In a 2020 interview with The Sun, Ashley, 33, described the alleged incident as being so intense "it felt like this guy tried to kill me."

She accused him of choking, spitting and calling her "worthless" during rough intercourse after they allegedly met at a Philadelphia strip club in 2015.

She claimed he invited her up to his room after he paid $600 for lap dances from her. 

Ashley, now a married mother of four, said Josh "knows what he's done and has to live with his demons."

Josh has always denied the alleged assault.


In April, just days before he was arrested on two counts of child pornography, Josh and Anna announced they were pregnant with baby number seven.

On October 23, Anna gave birth to a baby girl named Madyson Lily.

The couple shared the news with a post on social media, captioning the photo "Meet little Madyson Lily Duggar," with a pink heart emoji.

Anna also re-shared the image to her stories, where she revealed that the baby was born at 2:39 am and weighed seven pounds and nine ounces.


In the years following the scandals, Josh found it hard to keep a stable job, and lived with Anna and his six kids in a warehouse on Jim Bob and Michelle's Arkansas property, The Sun exclusively reported.

Then on April 29, Josh was arrested and charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child porn- he pleaded not guilty. 

If convicted, he could receive 20 years in prison with fines up to $250,000 for each count.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

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