Child trafficking expert says he hopes Duggar case helps law enforcement find victims

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Josh Duggar, a former reality television star and man charged with downloading child pornography, was released from jail around 2 p.m. Thursday. A local child trafficking expert said he hopes the high-profile case brings attention to finding victims.

“He’s just one of hundreds and hundreds of consumers of child sexual abuse material,” said Kevin Metcalf, the founder of the National Child Protection Taskforce (NCPTF).

The NCPTF uses technology to help law enforcement find exploited children and arrest predators.

Duggar, 33, is charged in a two-count indictment alleging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Duggar has pleaded not guilty to both counts. The police report showed he didn’t have to pay any money to bond out.

During a virtual court appearance Wednesday, a DHS federal agent said Duggar’s collection of videos and pictures featuring abuse of children is among the top-five worst cases he’s ever seen.

“He has a lot of experience and has been doing this a long time,” Metcalf said. “If he said that, that’s substantial.”

Matt Bender, a Fayetteville attorney unrelated to Duggar’s case, said the evidence presented against the former “19 Kids and Counting” reality star is disturbing.

“He’s accused of hurting a lot of kids,” Bender said. “We know this from his past history that he has a history of doing this.”

Bender said U.S. District Judge Christy Comstock did right by the law in not keeping Duggar in jail before his trial. He said injustice is created when other people aren’t afforded the same opportunity.

“Most people do not have a judge apply the law the way it’s supposed to be, which favors pre-trial release,” Bender said.

Bender said Duggar had 19 months to put together a solid defense, which is also something not afforded to most people.

Duggar can’t have contact with kids except for his own and only under the supervision of his wife. He must wear an electronic ankle monitor and cannot engage with electronic devices.

“I would have serious concerns about him having any unsupervised access to children,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf said he hopes the Duggar case helps put the spotlight on victims. Sometimes, people forget about the abused children when they focus too much on the predators, he said.

“What’s being done to locate these kids?” Metcalf said. “How many of those kids have been identified? How many of them have been located?”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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