Trigger Warning: This story contains mentions of child sex abuse and materials.
As Josh Duggar’s sentencing date of May 25 approaches, the prosecution in the case has filed it sentencing recommendations for the disgraced 19 Kids & Counting star. In the Sentencing Memorandum and Recommendations filed on Wednesday, the prosecuting lawyers have asked the judge to sentence Josh to the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for his crimes.
The prosecutors actually recommended a 30-year sentence; however, the maximum sentence that Josh–– who was convicted in December 2021 of receiving and possessing child sex abuse material (CSAM)–– can receive is 20 years (or 240 months).
Meanwhile, Josh’s defense has submitted its own sentencing recommendation, asking for just five years behind bars for Josh. (As The Ashley has previously reported, five years is in the minimum sentence Josh can receive, legally, due to his being convicted of “receiving CSAM.” That crime carries a minimum of five years.)
Anyway, in the prosecution’s recommendation, the lawyer ask the judge to consider the fact that Josh had more than 600 CSAM images, which makes him eligible for an sentencing enhancement. They also ask the judge to consider that Josh has committed “prior sexual exploitation of multiple minors.” (This is in reference to Josh molesting four of his sisters and a family babysitter when he was a teen. He was never charged or convicted of those crimes, though.)
Still, the prosecution argues that Josh’s “past behavior nevertheless provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children that the Court should consider at sentencing.
“This past conduct, when viewed alongside the conduct for which he has been convicted, makes clear that Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children, and a willingness to act on that interest. A guidelines sentence is warranted to appropriately account for his history and characteristics.”
In addition, the prosecutors note that Josh went to “extraordinary efforts” to obtain and view the CSAM, as well as to conceal his viewing of it. The lawyers point out the nature of the CSAM Josh viewed and downloaded (which one investigator called “the worst of the worst”).
They go on to describe some of the CSAM that Josh had as “sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence or the sexual abuse or exploitation of an infant or toddler.” (The Ashley has chosen not to include the more-graphic descriptions.)
Finally, they state that Josh has refused “to take accountability for or acknowledge any of his criminal conduct,” even after being found guilty of the crimes in December 2021. (This goes for the crimes he was charged with, as well as his actions against his sister and the babysitter.)
The prosecution’s memo also including a Victim Impact Statement from the mother of one of the girls who appeared in some of the CSAM that Josh had. The mother wrote that what Josh and others involved in the CSAM industry do are not “victimless crimes.”
“I can find no words to express the fury I feel at those who participate in this evil, or my scorn for any attempt to minimize the responsibility by feeble claims that the crime was ‘victimless,'” she wrote. “My daughter is a real person. She was horribly victimized to provide this source of ‘entertainment.’ She is exploited anew each and every time an image of her suffering is copied, traded or sold. While the crime is clearly conscienceless, it is hardly ‘victim-less.’
“I asked my daughter what she most wanted to ask of the judge. Her request: ‘Please,
don’t let them pretend no one’s getting hurt!’ She had some words for the defendant as well: ‘Don’t you know no one should do that to a little girl! Don’t you know it hurts!’
“As the mother of a child victimized by this crime, I would ask that the court take into consideration the damage done by this heartless crime to my daughter and others like her (including those children who still wait for someone to rescue them from their exploitation, and have no one here today to speak for them) and impose a sentence that takes into account the full impact of the crime on the victims.”
The lawyers go on to ask the judge to take into account that Josh– who is a father of seven young children— is a threat to the public, especially children.
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“The sentence in the instant case, if nothing else, must further the goal of protecting the
public—specifically the most vulnerable members of the public, children—from future crimes committed by Duggar and others like him,” the prosecution writes, pointing out that Josh’s sisters and fifth victim were all around the same age as the girls in the CSAM he had.
“This is not coincidental…The referenced ‘pattern’ that Duggar has followed, and which is now before this Court, involves his hands-on abuse of minor females followed up by his acts to obtain imagery reflecting the hands-on abuse of minor females. At base, this pattern reflects a clear and long-standing sexual interest in prepubescent females.”
What’s even more concerning, the lawyers state, is that Josh has refused to acknowledge his sexual interest in young girls, and has not and likely will not, seek treatment, increasing the likelihood that Josh will reoffend.
“This Court is now presented with an offender who has a history of sexually abusing minors, who has not received any treatment or therapy for this conduct to speak of, who appears unlikely to ever seek out or meaningfully participate in treatment or therapy to address this conduct, and who continues to deny any responsibility for his past or present crimes.”
The prosecuting lawyers ended the letter with, “based on all the reasons discussed above, including Duggar’s history of sexually abusing minors and the grave risks associated with his potential to recidivate, the United States submits that a Guidelines-compliant sentence of 240 months is appropriate here.”
Josh is due to be sentenced in Arkansas on May 25.
(Photos: TLC; The Ashley)