Duggar installed a bypass on a computer to hide child porn downloads, government claims

Sam Fried

FAYETTEVILLE — A computer used to download child pornography had a bypass installed to get around an anti-pornography program, government attorneys in the federal case against Joshua Duggar argue in a court filing. The bypass was installed the day before child pornography was downloaded, the government claims. Duggar, 33, of […]

FAYETTEVILLE — A computer used to download child pornography had a bypass installed to get around an anti-pornography program, government attorneys in the federal case against Joshua Duggar argue in a court filing.

The bypass was installed the day before child pornography was downloaded, the government claims. Duggar, 33, of Springdale wasn’t the only person with access to the computer, his defense attorneys noted in earlier court filings.

The desktop computer in question was seized by investigators at a car lot Duggar operated. Employees and others had access to it, according to court documents.

Duggar’s office and personal electronic devices were seized and the contents copied in November 2019. Duggar is charged with two counts involving receiving and possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks set the jury trial for Nov. 30.

Duggar is known as a family member in the now-canceled “19 Kids and Counting” reality show and as a former lobbyist for the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. He faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count, if convicted.

Duggar admitted to a pornography addiction to “numerous” witnesses the government intends to call and on social media, says a U.S. Justice Department court motion filed Wednesday.

The motion requests that such statements made years before the child pornography charges be allowed as evidence. A defense motion filed the same day says such evidence of acts or behaviors that are not crimes is irrelevant, and including such statements would prejudice a jury.

“Specifically, the defendant, in 2015, publicly admitted via a post to his family’s social media account that ‘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 an addiction,'” the government motion says he posted.

Examination of Duggar’s devices by investigators found a program called “Covenant Eyes” installed on his office’s Hewlett-Packard desktop computer, his personal laptop and his cellphone “as a result of his self-professed addiction to online pornography,” the motion says.

“Covenant Eyes is a program and service advertised as an internet accountability software geared specifically to help individuals ‘live porn free with confidence,'” according to the motion.

Covenant Eyes notifies “the subscriber’s designated accountability partner” such as a friend, family member or church official of attempts to download pornography, the motion says. The subscribers to the Covenant Eyes account on the desktop computer in the case were Duggar and his wife, Anna, and she was the one designated to get notifications of attempts to download pornography, the motion says.

“With respect to the HP computer, the forensic examination of said device revealed that just prior to the downloading of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), the defendant installed a Linux partition on the device,” the federal motion says.

Linux is an operating system that can be installed on computers that also use, for instance, Microsoft Windows as their main operating system.

“Notably, the partition was installed on May 13, 2019. On that same day, the TOR (The Onion Router) Browser, which is a means of accessing the Dark Web, was downloaded onto the Linux Partition.”

The Dark Web consists of websites using electronic encryption so sites there won’t show up in searches by most web browsers. These sites can only be accessed by browsers such as The Onion Router.

The following day, May 14, the The Onion Router Browser was used to access child pornography, the government claims. Shortly thereafter, a peer-to-peer program was installed on the Linux partition side of the computer and used to download child pornography, the motion claims.

Representatives of Covenant Eyes said their service is not compatible with Linux, so any activities conducted on the Linux partition side of the device would not have been detected or reported to Anna Duggar, according to the motion.

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/nov/06/duggar-installed-a-bypass-on-a-computer-to-hide/

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