Josh Duggar is free on bail in his child pornography case — one day after Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Gerald Faulkner called the illegal downloads on the father of six’s computer the “worst of the worst.”
Faulkner, who’s investigated over 1,000 child exploitation cases in the last 11 years, testified at Duggar’s detention hearing about the November 2019 raid at 33-year-old Duggar’s Springdale, Ark., used car lot and forensic analysis of the recovered devices: an HP desktop, a MacBook laptop and iPhone. He said there were more than 200 images depicting child pornography in Wholesale Motors office on the desktop, a computer that featured a screensaver showing Josh, his wife Anna and their kids. The former star of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting has pleaded not guilty to charges of receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children, which have him facing up to 40 years in prison.
During testimony, Faulkner shared a timeline of the period from May 13 to 16 of the same year, when the child porn downloads allegedly occurred.
May 13: Faulkner says a Linux Partition is installed on the desktop. The partition divides the hard drive into basically two computers in one, with a hidden, password-protected area. Also, a Tor browser — which is a special browser used to search the dark web anonymously — is installed on the partition, or hidden, part of the computer.
On the desktop — as well as the laptop — Duggar has an app called Covenant Eyes, which is used to help someone “quit porn” by reporting any visits to porn sites to an accountability partner. Anna, who’s pregnant with the couple’s seventh child, gets the reports. Faulkner says the app is unable to detect any computer usage in the hidden partition side of the computer.
May 14: Duggar’s iPhone data shows he took photos in the car lot and office at around 4 p.m. Soon after, the new hidden partition and dark web browser are used to “access porn sites associated with rape and files associated with child pornography,” with files being downloaded. Bit-Torrent websites, which allow peer-to-peer file sharing, a common way of sharing child porn files, are visited and videos downloaded to the desktop computer. This goes on until almost 6 p.m. — with Duggar messaging someone around that time saying he’s still at the car lot and photos on his phone putting him there.
Meanwhile, at 5:42 p.m. a police officer from Little Rock, Ark, who’s monitoring online child porn activity, detects a video in Duggar’s alleged peer-to-peer file sharing. It’s approximately two minutes and depicts two prepubescent females, approximately 7 to 9 years of age, being sexually abused by an adult male. The officer is able to determine the IP address of the computer on which the video was shared.
May 15: Dugger’s iPhone is used to message someone to say he’s at his car lot. Minutes later, an “About Tor” website is bookmarked on the desktop. At 11:35 a.m, the desktop user downloads three torrent videos associated with child porn. Later in the day, Duggar sends a text saying he’ll be at the lot until 6 p.m. At 5:20 p.m., the desktop user again accesses child porn websites, downloading multiple files. Ten minutes later, the same computer is used to check HomeAdvisor.com, inputting the user name “Joshua,” and to leave a review on website for a local business. After that, more files are downloaded, including Marissa.zip. Duggar’s phone is used around that time to say he was still at the car lot.
For the second day in a row, the Little Rock police investigator detects child porn downloads, specifically a file that contains 65 images of a nude, prepubescent female, between 7 and 9 years old, “many of which were consistent with child pornography. Again, the officer can see the IP address of the network that downloaded the file.
May 16: The user of the HP computer downloads another child porn file at about 11:20 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, Duggar’s phone is used to take a picture of something on the desk, again putting him in the vicinity of the computer a the time.
After that, the Little Rock officer handed over the information to Homeland Security Investigations’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) division. Faulkner joined the case in June and summons the Internet service provider for the IP address to get the contact information of the user. In October, the company provided the contact information, which belonged to Duggar.
A search warrant of Duggar’s business was executed on Nov. 8. Agents spoke with Duggar, saying he asked them at one point, before they revealed what they were searching for, “What is this about? Has someone been downloading child pornography?” Faulkner said Duggar, who was not arrested during the raid, said he owned the HP desktop as well as the laptop and phone. He said he was familiar with peer-to-peer file sharing networks and acknowledged that his devices “possibly” had them — as well as the dark web browser on it. He declined to provide computer passwords, but the agents took the three devices for forensics analysis.
Faulkner said the first forensic report came back in March 2020 and “approximately over 200 images” were “flagged as child sexual abuse material, involving naked minors engaging in sexual activity.” Many were located” on “unallocated space” on Duggar’s computer — meaning they were deleted but remained on the hard drive.
Further, “Multiple child pornography files were found in a recently viewed folder” and had been “viewed” on the desktop,” Faulkner continued.
Among the downloads was a series depicting the sexual abuse of children aged 18 months to 12 years, Faulkner said, adding, In 11 years of doing this and the thousands and thousands of child pornography images and videos I’ve had unfortunately to see, the series ranks in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.”
Faulkner said the forensic examination also determined that the password for the hidden part of the computer was one often used by Duggar. The password, which ended in Duggar’s birth year, is the same he used for online banking, utility bill sites and the Duggar family social media accounts.
The last forensics report was given to the agents in February 2021 and then Duggar was arrested on April 29.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Christy Comstock talked about “how serious these charges are,” specifically due to the nature of the crime and how the children in the pornography are”close to the ages of your children.” However, she still allowed him to be free on bail, with “unlimited” visits with his children as long as Anna was present. He is living with third-party custodians, a pastor and his wife. He also has electronic monitoring and is banned from using the internet or looking at porn.
Duggar is no stranger to scandal. His family’s reality show was canceled in 2015 after allegations surfaced that — years earlier when he was a teen in 2002 and 2003 — he molested five young girls, including some of his sisters. At the time, he publicly apologized for having “acted inexcusably.”
Later that year, the website Ashley Madison, a company helping to enabling extramarital affairs, was hacked and he was reported among the users. He publicly apologized to Anna saying he was “the biggest hypocrite ever.”
His jury trial is scheduled to begin July 6 with a pre-trial conference on July 1.
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