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Josh Duggar, who appeared in a virtual detention hearing Wednesday after being arrested on charges of child pornography, had more than 200 images of children on his computer, prosecutors said during the hours-long hearing.
A forensic examination of Josh's devices, including an HP computer and a Macbook that included a backup of an iPhone 8, allegedly found multiple files containing child pornography had been downloaded.
Josh's devices were seized by Homeland Security in March 2020, and agent Gerald Faulkner provided a summary of the forensic analysis in testimony during Wednesday's hearing.
The agent described multiple torrent files downloaded from a child abuse series described as within the "top five of the worst of the worst" that he has ever examined.
Faulkner said that Josh downloaded torrent files that included "a series of child sexual abuse material involving minor children ranging from about 18 months of age to 12 years of age."
"And I can say 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," he said of the series Josh allegedly downloaded files from.
"Multiple child pornography files were ... found in a recently viewed folder, meaning that the user had unzipped those torrent files and had viewed them on the desktop," Faulkner said. "Approximately over 200 images that were flagged as child sexual abuse material involving naked minors engaging in sexual activity were located" on "unallocated space" on Josh's computer — meaning that those files had been deleted, but not off the hard drive.
Josh was arrested on April 29, and Judge Christy Comstock of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas ruled that he would be allowed to leave the detention center where he has been being held, but that he will not be able to return to his family.
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Instead, Josh will be released to designated third party custodians, Lacount and Maria Reber, described in court as "close friends" of the Duggar family. He will be confined to their home and monitored with GPS tracking.
Comstock said that she "cannot in good conscience" release Josh to his pregnant wife Anna and their six children — Maryella Hope, 17 months, Mason Garrett, 3½, Meredith Grace, 5½, Marcus Anthony, 7½, Michael James, 9½, and Mackynzie Renée, 11.
He has been granted "unlimited contact" with his children, so long as Anna is present. Josh may not see any other minor child, including his nieces and nephews.
"Don't make me regret this decision," Comstock told Josh before adjourning.
During Josh's arraignment last week, it was ruled that he would not be allowed to live with minors if released on bail, but he requested in the motion that he be allowed to return home to his pregnant wife and six children.
In May 2015, he apologized for his "wrongdoing" following the release of a 2006 police report that revealed he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. His sisters Jill, 29, and Jessa, 28, subsequently stepped forward as two of the victims.
If convicted of the current charges against him, Josh could face up to 40 years in prison. His trial is scheduled to take place in July.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.