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Facing 20 Years in Prison for Child Pornography, Josh Duggar Pleads With Judge for Mercy

Josh Duggar
(L) Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (R) Photo via Unsplash.com @claudiasoraya

34-year-old former “19 Kids and Counting” reality star Josh Duggar is pleading to a federal judge for mercy before his sentencing on May 25, 2022. Duggar was convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography last December.

Duggar and his wife Anna have been married 13 years and have seven children. Anna’s husband was arrested on April 29, 2021 by U.S. Marshals for child pornography found on a computer he used at his Arkansas car dealership. Since his conviction, Duggar has been in prison awaiting sentencing.

Although he was charged with one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography, which involved sexually explicit images of girls under the ages of nine and one that showed torture and abuse of an infant, Duggar maintains that he is innocent.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a 20-year sentence, detailed in a memorandum submitted this past Wednesday. Prosecutors cite that Duggar is a “grave” risk to commit similar crimes again, referencing his “prior sexual exploitation of multiple minors,” that is, the molestation of his four sisters and babysitter when he was a teenager.

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“Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children and a willingness to act on that interest,” the memorandum said.

Prosecutors further argued that Duggar’s computer expertise increases the likelihood he will reoffend.

“Duggar is a very sophisticated computer user with a history of downloading, installing, and utilizing peer-to-peer file-sharing programs and an understanding that his use of those programs would—and, indeed, did—result in the distribution of the material to others,” prosecutors said.

Duggar‘s attorneys are requesting a sentence of only five years with supervision after his release. In their own memorandum, Duggar’s attorneys paint their client as a victim, saying his life “has already been shattered. His reputation, career, and family have all suffered.”

The computer seized from Duggar’s car dealership wasn’t only used by their client, the attorneys have argued, suggesting the possibility that another employee downloaded the illegal images.

Duggar’s attorneys are attempting to make the case that whoever downloaded the explicit underaged material only viewed some of it, “deleted all of it within a few days, and then never sought anything like it ever again.”

“It is only fair that this Court place the allegations into the context of cases of this nature,” the attorneys said. “And, in that way, this is less severe than the lion’s share of child pornography cases that end up in federal court.”