Prosecutor Makes Impassioned Plea in Duggar Case

The prosecution in Joshua Duggar’s child pornography case submitted a sentencing memorandum Wednesday seeking two decades in prison for the former reality TV star. Duggar, 34, was found guilty of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography in December 2021.

The detailed 30-page document concludes with the government asking the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court for a “guidelines-compliant sentence” of 20 years for Duggar. For sentencing purposes, one of those two charges was dismissed, so 20 years is the maximum possible sentence.

The defense submitted a memorandum asking for a sentence of five years, stating that Duggar is seeking a sentence that is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary.” It concluded by quoting an “age-old adage [that] ‘justice must be tempered with mercy.’”

The prosecution’s filing details Duggar’s two-count indictment in April 2021, as well as the subsequent trial on those charges and the guilty verdict. It proceeds to explain his crimes in detail, including downloading and viewing child pornography over a four-day period, using a “hidden partition on his work computer” and a “BitTorrent Peer-to-Peer file-sharing client.” The filing also stated that “the offense involved 600 or more images.”

The document also makes note of Duggar’s “prior sexual exploitation of multiple minors” and allegations of “the extraordinary efforts Duggar took to obtain and view child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), the nature of the CSAM he obtained and viewed, his efforts to conceal his criminal conduct, and his refusal to take accountability for or acknowledge any of his criminal conduct.”

The prosecution addressed objections made by the defense regarding insufficient evidence. The filing refutes the defense’s statement that “there was absolutely no evidence that Duggar ‘knowingly’ distributed any materials,” calling him “a very savvy computer user” who “distributed CSAM to Detective Amber Kalmer,” the Little Rock officer that first investigated Duggar’s activity.

The memo continued with support detailing the prosecution’s desire for a sentencing enhancement due to “material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.” This included explicit descriptions of specific files that Duggar downloaded and distributed to law enforcement.

They also sought an enhancement for “engaging in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse of minors,” and cited “repeated acts of child molestation” that were detailed during the trial through testimony by family friend Bobye Holt. The filing further notes comments regarding molestation made by the defendant’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, at a pretrial hearing.

The document also makes note of Duggar’s “prior sexual exploitation of multiple minors” and allegations of “the extraordinary efforts Duggar took to obtain and view child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), the nature of the CSAM he obtained and viewed, his efforts to conceal his criminal conduct, and his refusal to take accountability for or acknowledge any of his criminal conduct.”

The prosecution addressed objections made by the defense regarding insufficient evidence. The filing refutes the defense’s statement that “there was absolutely no evidence that Duggar ‘knowingly’ distributed any materials,” calling him “a very savvy computer user” who “distributed CSAM to Detective Amber Kalmer,” the Little Rock officer that first investigated Duggar’s activity.

The memo continued with support detailing the prosecution’s desire for a sentencing enhancement due to “material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.” This included explicit descriptions of specific files that Duggar downloaded and distributed to law enforcement.

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They also sought an enhancement for “engaging in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse of minors,” and cited “repeated acts of child molestation” that were detailed during the trial through testimony by family friend Bobye Holt. The filing further notes comments regarding molestation made by the defendant’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, at a pretrial hearing.

He went through the effort to download, install, and password protect this partition—all to avoid detection. Duggar, perhaps more than any other individual presented to this Court, was willing to go through exhaustive efforts to obtain CSAM without detection. Duggar’s criminal activity was also deliberate and precise.

Government’s sentencing memorandum, filed on May 11 in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court

In a section titled “Duggar’s History and Characteristics,” the document notes that Duggar has no criminal history, but that “the facts produced in pretrial hearings and at trial establish that he has previously molested four (4) minor females, either while they were sleeping (hence incapacitated) or too young to understand what Duggar was doing or defend themselves from his criminal behavior.” The prosecution notes that while he isn’t being sentenced for those, his past behavior “provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children.”

“Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children,” the motion states. “And a willingness to act on that interest.” The next several pages of the memo address “the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense.”

Also included is a quote from a parent of one of the girls depicted in the illegal material that Duggar downloaded, noting that her daughter “became an anxious and fretful shadow of her former self” after being sexually abused. When asked what she most wanted to tell the judge, the girl told her mother, “Please, don’t let them pretend no one’s getting hurt!”

The filing then covers “the need for the sentence to afford adequate deterrence and protect the public from further crimes,” calling that requirement “particularly high here.” They continue by calling Duggar “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.”

“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the steps necessary to change this pattern of behavior and address his predilection for minor females. Given these circumstances, this Court should be particularly mindful in crafting its sentence of the likelihood that Duggar reoffends upon his release from incarceration and what his reoffending conduct will entail.”

Government’s sentencing memorandum, filed on May 11 in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court

The memo alleges that the illegal material Duggar downloaded is “among the worst of the worst,” and said, “distressingly, the market for child pornography has continued to grow.” They add that there is no evidence that he presents a low risk to commit future crimes of this nature. “It is imperative that the Court’s sentence be designed to ensure he does not reoffend,” the filing says before requesting a sentence of 240 months to “ensure that outcome.”

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