- Federal prosecutors complained in a court filing that Josh Duggar has been using “blame tactics” and casting himself as a victim.
- Duggar is due to be sentenced next week for his child pornography conviction.
- Multiple friends and relatives wrote letters to the judge, pleading for a lenient sentence.
Federal prosecutors said in a court filing on this week that the former reality TV star Josh Duggar has apparently convinced his friends and family that he is a “victim,” and therefore will likely never be held accountable enough to seek treatment for his “sexual proclivities.” toward prepubescent girls.”
Duggar was convicted last December of receiving and possession child pornography after a week-long jury trial. Duggar has maintained his innocence, and last week submitted a sentencing memorandum requesting the lightest possible sentence: five years in prison.
As part of that sentencing memorandum, Duggar had submitted 10 letters from relatives, close friends, and members of his church community, all of whom lauded Duggar’s character and requested he be granted a lenient sentence. It’s customary for defendants in criminal proceedings to gather letters of support ahead of sentencing hearings.
But prosecutors said the letters showed a disturbing lack of recognition for the crimes Duggar was convicted of, noting that none of them “meaningfully” addressed Duggar’s crimes “or his sexual proclivities prepubescent girls.”
Prosecutors added that some of the letter-writers even expressed a belief that Duggar was a victim, casting his conviction as “an unfortunate happenstance.” None of the letter-writers appeared likely to support Duggar in seeking treatment or help prevent him from reoffending in the future, prosecutors said.
“Absent some recognition from Duggar of his crimes and his need to address his demonstrated and long-standing sexual interest in children, it is unlikely that he will ever view his conviction as anything other than proof that he needs to be more circumspect and secretive the next time he engages in conduct involving child sexual abuse,” prosecutors wrote.
They continued: “It is equally unlikely that he will ever receive the treatment and accountability needed to prevent him from reoffending should he maintain this posture. In fact, given the apparent success of his blame tactics with some of the individuals he intends to surround himself with. with after his release from incarceration, it is not just unlikely — it is inconceivable.”
Among the people who wrote letters on Duggar’s behalf were his wife, Anna, and his mother, Michelle. LaCount Reber, the pastor and family friend who allowed Duggar to stay at his family’s home while awaiting trial, also submitted a letter praising Duggar’s helpfulness around his home.
Many of the letters described Duggar as a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, and a devoutly religious churchgoer, who frequently volunteered his time, money, and energy to help people in need.
Several letter-writers, including Anna Duggar and Michelle Duggar, wrote about how Duggar had financially supported the widow of a man who died from cancer. Another letter-writer described how Duggar had lent him his personal motor home for two months so he could drive 12,000 miles for a ministry trip.
Yet another letter-writer described how Duggar had driven to a friend’s house at 3 am to provide much-needed anti-diarrhea medication amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duggar’s attorneys had used the letters — as well as details of Duggar’s upbringing and public-facing life as a former realty TV star — to argue to the judge that Duggar had suffered in the past from immense public scrutiny. Prosecutors disagreed, saying those exact reasons made Duggar’s offenses even worse.
“Indeed, his supportive family and public-facing and privileged lifestyle make his pattern of criminal conduct all the more baffling,” prosecutors wrote. “Despite achieving some level of fame through reality television as an adult, he is better known at this point for his behavior outside his family’s show, including his sexual improprieties and criminal sexual conduct.”
Duggar is due to be sentenced on May 25. In a sentencing memorandum of their own last week, prosecutors requested that Duggar receive 20 years in prison.