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Josh Duggar's Past Molestation Case Allowed to Be Used in Child Porn Trial, Judge Rules

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The prosecution in Josh Duggar's child sexual abuse material case can admit his past molestation scandal as evidence in his trial, the judge has ruled.

Judge Timothy L. Brooks ruled on the matter on Wednesday morning, the second day of Duggar's trial.

Duggar, 33, has been charged with receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material. He pleaded not guilty following an April arrest and was released pending his trial.

His past molestation scandal came to light in May 2015, when the 19 Kids and Counting alum apologized for his "wrongdoing" after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. Two of his sisters later came forward claiming to be victims.

"The Court finds, based on the Government's proffer of evidence at the hearing, that the prior acts of child molestation allegedly committed by Defendant in 2002 and 2003 against four child victims are clear and compelling," the judge wrote in his Wednesday ruling.

"The child pornography victims, in this case, are approximately the same ages as the victims of Defendant's hands-on child-molestation offenses," he later added. "Accordingly, the prior act evidence is probative of Defendant's sexual interest in underage children and his propensity for exploiting young girls."

josh duggar
josh duggar

Kris Connor/Getty Josh Duggar

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The prosecution had previously provided notice to the defense that they may introduce evidence of Duggar's 2000s molestation scandal in the trial, but the defense then filed a response moving to exclude any evidence regarding the scandal.

In order to resolve the matter, the judge called for an evidentiary hearing, held on Monday, in which Duggar's father Jim Bob Duggar and his longtime family friend Bobye Holt were called by the prosecution to testify.

During his testimony, Jim Bob, 56, said he couldn't remember the details of Duggar's admissions that he had touched the victims, identified during the proceeding as Jane Does 1 through 4.

"The Court found Mr. Duggar's selective lapse in memory to be not credible; he was obviously reluctant to testify against his son," Brooks wrote in his ruling on whether to allow the molestation scandal in the trial.

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Holt more specifically recalled that Duggar repeatedly admitted, in 2003 and in 2005, to inappropriately touching four Jane Does over and under their clothes.

Because Holt is married to Jim Holt, an elder in the Duggar family's church, the defense tried to get her testimony removed on the basis of clergy privilege, a motion that Brooks denied on Wednesday.

"It is clear from her testimony—which the Court found very credible—that she was not a clergyperson at the time [Duggar] made certain disclosures to her about molesting children," the judge wrote.

Jim Bob Duggar, Josh Duggar
Jim Bob Duggar, Josh Duggar

The Duggar Family/Instagram; Anna Duggar/Instagram Jim Bob Duggar, Josh Duggar

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Duggar has been accused of downloading files depicting child sex abuse on May 14, 15 and 16 of 2019 on the computer at his then-workplace, a used car lot in Arkansas.

If convicted of the charges against him, Duggar faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines on each of the two counts for a total possible sentence of 40 years, according to an April press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

Amid Duggar's legal woes, TLC canceled the family's reality series, Counting On. In their statement, the network said it felt it was "important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately."

Their former show, 19 Kids and Counting, was canceled in 2015 after Duggar's molestation scandal came to light.

Also in 2015, Duggar publicly confessed to cheating on his wife Anna and struggling with an addiction to pornography after Gawker reported about his active accounts on Ashley Madison — a website that helps to facilitate affairs.

Brooks previously granted Duggar's motion to exclude the past statement about having a pornography "addiction," meaning it cannot be used during the trial.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.