domestic violence, Duggars, sex

A whole lot can change in a week’s time…

Howdy folks… it’s a beautiful, cool, sunny Sunday morning in Germany, and I’m sitting here thinking about the crazy events of the past week. A week ago, Bill’s daughter was still pregnant, awaiting the birth of her son. A week ago, twenty-one citizens of Uvalde, Texas were still alive and presumably well. And a week ago, we still didn’t know Josh Duggar’s fate. Much has happened since May 22, 2022. Although I know it could be said at any time, a lot of lives began, changed, or ended in the past week.

As usual, I have a bunch of things on my mind. Some of it is pretty ludicrous and probably shouldn’t be shared. But, because I’m an inappropriate person who enjoys saying and writing shocking things, I’m going to share a ridiculous thought I had the other day as I watched Jim Bob Duggar storm out of the courthouse to his vehicle. Jim Bob was wearing a mask on his face, but it was pretty obvious that he was flaming pissed. Just watching the man walk, completely ignoring the press who peppered him with questions, I got the sense that Boob was seething. How dare the judge sentence Josh to 151 months in prison, when so many people had “vouched” for his quality as a human? /sarcasm

And it’s very inappropriate that I thought about this… as a masked Anna came out after Jim Bob, flanked by members of the legal team representing Josh Duggar. Man… the Duggars sure seem to have embraced the masks, haven’t they? It helps hide the wholly inappropriate facial expressions a number of them have made in the wake of this legal scandal. I thought about the obvious anger expressed in Jim Bob’s walk, and the energy that was emanating from it. And I wondered if he was going to go home to his wife and demand that she be “joyfully available” to him, so he might get out some of that energy…

Anna Duggar comes out after her father-in-law, who looked as mad as a wet rooster.

Yeah, I know… it’s inappropriate as hell. But this family wrote the book on being inappropriate, didn’t they? And based on what Danica Dillon said about Josh Duggar, and their alleged rough encounter in a hotel room, I figure the apple probably doesn’t fall far from the tree. Did Josh learn his technique from a book? Was it only from the videos he watched? Or did he learn from watching dear old dad?

Michelle is probably pretty pissed, too.

I think about Michelle Duggar’s speech to her daughter Jill, just before she married her husband, Derick Dillard. In her advice, she remembered being a young bride, preparing to marry Jim Bob. A friend gave her what she thought was very sage advice about being a good wife. The story goes:

She told me: “Michelle, I know you’re so excited. You’re a bride-to-be, but some day you’ll be at this point. I’ve been married three years and I’m still happily married. I have one child, we’re expecting our second and I’m big pregnant. You’ve got to remember this. Anyone can iron Jim Bob’s shirt, anybody can make lunch for him. He can get his lunch somewhere else. But you are the only one who can meet that special need that he has in his life for intimacy. You’re it. You’re the only one. So don’t forget that, that he needs you. So when you are exhausted at the end of the day, maybe from dealing with little ones, and you fall into bed so exhausted at night, don’t forget about him because you and he are the only ones who can have that time together. No one else in the world can meet that need.”

“And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.’ ”

Michelle went on to say that Jim Bob would “lay down his life for her”. That seems to be an unfortunate choice of words. He would lay down his life for the only woman he can lay in his life… or so he tells us, anyway. I don’t know if Jim Bob is a faithful husband. I’ve never seen any indication that he isn’t faithful to Michelle, so I’ll assume he is. But obviously, he has a very strong sex drive… just look at all of the kids he’s fathered. And obviously, since Michelle was so free about giving the “joyfully available” advice to her daughter, and the rest of the women of the world, it’s something that is probably expected of her in her marriage. So I wonder, when Jim Bob came storming out of the courthouse, obviously looking like he was mad enough to spit nails, did he go home and work off that energy by splitting logs, stacking cinder blocks, or playing basketball, like LDS missionaries do? Or did he request his wife’s availability in the bedroom for a joyfully available power fuck? I mean, what soothes the savage beast more than a willing helpmeet, ready to do her duty?

I guess the attention isn’t such a good thing after all…

Personally, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch. I think Jim Bob is an angry person. To me, he comes across as very narcissistic. Narcissistic people are often full of rage and shame. They hide behind charming, attractive facades that can fool people. I think Jim Bob is good at presenting that friendly, “Christian” image, at least at first. But over the years, I’ve read a bunch of stories about people and their dealings with him… and what tends to happen when things go south. Also, he seems to have some pretty tone deaf ideas about women and sex. He supposedly told his daughter, Jessa, before she married Ben Seewald:

“Both of you’ll like the physical relationship, but the guy, that’ll be kinda the main focus. But, for a woman, communicating is the most important thing.”

He also said:

“Be careful what you’re good at doing, because you’ll probably do a lot of it.”

And…

“If a woman is raped, the rapist should be executed instead of the innocent unborn baby. Rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.”

Obviously, he can’t see that his son, Josh, is a monster who would hurt women, AND innocent babies. And he clearly doesn’t think Josh should be executed for what he’s done. Josh got some of that stuff from somewhere… and based on what we’ve been hearing about the Southern Baptists lately, it stands to reason that the Duggars probably have similar views. I know they aren’t “Southern Baptists”– they have even more fundamentalist beliefs. They clearly live in a world where abuse is rampant and tolerated. So it’s not hard for me to imagine that when Jim Bob got home after seeing his eldest son sentenced to over 12 years in a federal prison, he had some anger to process. Hopefully, he processed it in an appropriate way, and there wasn’t any abuse. But frankly, my guess is that he’s probably pretty miserable to live with, especially when he’s angry. And he was clearly VERY ANGRY after the sentencing hearing.

No, the Duggars technically aren’t Southern Baptists, but they do come from a similar, and more secretive, world.

I hope that Michelle Duggar is okay… and I especially hope the other girls who are still under Jim Bob’s roof are okay. I hope Anna will be okay, and somehow she can be helped out of the situation she’s in… but unfortunately, she’s going to have to wise up and ask for assistance. Most of all, I hope the children are safer than they were. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jim Bob is a whole lot better than Josh is. Having grown up with a father who wasn’t a sex pest, but did take out his anger on me, I do worry that the people under Jim Bob’s control might be at risk.

Moving on to a more pleasant subject…

Now that Bill’s third grandchild has been born, my status as “granny” has come up again. I mentioned that Bill has a new grandson, and someone questioned my wording, wondering why I wasn’t claiming the child as my grandchild. This person explained that as Bill’s wife, what’s his is mine, too. And he tried to tell me that because younger daughter and her family need love, I should think of myself in a grandmotherly role as I offer that love to them. Bear in mind, I have never met this guy, and he knows nothing about our story.

Once again, I found myself briefly explaining the odd circumstances regarding my relationship with Bill’s daughters. I have only met them in person once in almost twenty years of marriage. It’s only been a few years since Bill and his younger daughter have been talking to each other. And, although I grow to like and trust her more and more as time passes, I don’t feel comfortable with the designation of “granny”. In fact, I don’t even know if she’d want me to make that claim. I would be very honored if she did, but I’m not about to make that presumption, especially since her mother is trying to pass #3 off as her “dad” and grandfather to her children. It’s clear that younger daughter doesn’t see #3 as her dad at all, but Ex is still apparently entertaining the fantasy. So I don’t want to stir the pot by referring to myself as a “granny”… especially since I barely feel like a stepmother, even in the technical sense.

I do hope, though, that I can get to know younger daughter and her family better. Bill is very happy to have them in his life again. And he couldn’t be more overjoyed about having another grandchild.

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Duggars, law, true crime

Josh Duggar gets sentenced to 12-13 years in Texas…

Today is going to be a busy day for my blog. Besides this post about Josh Duggar’s fate, I also have a new book review to write. I was thinking of combining my posts, but decided that I don’t want my book review to be commingled with the absolute ickiness of Josh Duggar’s crimes against children. So here’s a quick post on my thoughts regarding Josh Duggar’s punishment, since I know a handful of people out there actually seem to care about my opinions. 😉

Bill and I were in the middle of dinner when the sentencing for Josh Duggar was announced. The prosecution had demanded a full twenty year sentence for Josh, who was convicted of downloading horrific images of child sexual abuse. Josh’s defense team had asked for five years. Judge Timothy L. Brooks seemed to take the middle road, ultimately sentencing Josh to 151 months (12 years and seven months) in federal prison, either in Seagoville, Texas, or Texarkana, Texas. Judge Brooks seemed to prefer Seagoville, since there is a sex offender treatment program there. It’s my understanding that Josh would not be required to attend the sex offender treatment program, but would be strongly encouraged to do so.

Josh will probably have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for release. When he is eventually released, he will be on supervised probation for twenty years. He will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children, including his own. He will not be allowed access to a computer with Internet access, nor is he allowed to view any pornography. Judge Brooks vacated one of the charges against Josh– the charge of possession of child pornography, which was the lesser of the two charges against him. However, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, so he could conceivably be charged again for that crime. Additionally, Josh has to pay a roughly $50,000 fine.

Attending the court session yesterday was Josh’s long suffering wife, Anna, who wore a subdued navy blue dress and a face mask. After he was sentenced, Josh signed “I love you” to Anna. Josh’s father, Jim Bob, was also there, also masked, but apparently doing a lot of smirking. Sister Joy Anna Forsyth was there, sitting on the prosecution’s side of the courtroom, with her brother, Jason. I read that she got up and left the room, apparently upset, when Josh’s conduct toward her when she was a child was discussed. That must have been horrible for her.

Josh, Anna, and Jim Bob appeared to be stoic as the sentence was announced. Josh was even described to be in “good spirits” before the sentence was handed down; he was described as wearing a grey suit and having a beard, but less hair on his head. Anna was described as “blonder”, and some people in the Duggar Family News group were speculating that she might be pregnant again. Personally, I think it’s more likely that she’s still got baby weight from her most recent pregnancy, and perhaps has gained some weight from stress eating. I hope she isn’t pregnant again. It’s possible, I guess… but I think it’s unlikely.

Brother-in-law Derick Dillard was not at the sentencing hearing, although he did attend the trial. Derick did tweet yesterday…

Not surprisingly, Derick uses the Bible to send a message to Josh.

A lot of people don’t think Josh’s sentence is long enough. Personally, I am not surprised that he got 151 months. That’s about what I predicted he would get. I came to my conclusion, in part, because this is technically his “first offense”, even though we all know it’s not really his first offense. I’m sure the judge was careful to make sure to do everything according to normal standards, so that there would be less reason for appeals or complaints about unfair treatment.

While I firmly believe that his attraction to illegal pornography is going to be a lifelong issue for Josh, and I think he will eventually reoffend, it’s unrealistic to expect him to get a super harsh sentence from the start. Yes, he’s gross, but he’s not the grossest… and the reason we know so much about him is because he was a reality TV star. He was a reality TV star because his parents are greedy fame whores. As nasty as Josh is, there was a time when he was innocent. His parents failed him spectacularly. However, as much as they’ve failed Josh, they have also failed the rest of their children… especially the sisters who were among Josh’s first victims.

I don’t understand how any decent parents with a scintilla of sense would keep having babies when there’s a known sexual predator in the family. And yet, beyond 2002, when Josh’s proclivities were exposed, Jim Bob and Michelle kept having babies. They encouraged him to marry very young, and Anna became the recipient of his attentions, while they continued making babies who were probably victimized by Josh, too. I don’t know what is the best thing for parents to do in a tough situation like this– but I do know that adding more children to the mix was not the right thing to do.

In any case, Josh will soon be headed to Texas, where he’ll have some time to think about what he’s done. Some people are hoping he has access to the general population… or they have access to him. I don’t wish for prison justice. It’s not anyone else’s place to visit retribution against Josh Duggar. He should do his time safely. He will be in a low security facility, though. Both Texarkana and Seagoville are low security prisons, which means that as bad as prison is, it won’t be as bad as it could be. Violence is typically pretty low at low security prisons. If Josh is able to stay out of trouble, he’ll probably be okay. Of course, the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, describes the prison as “hellish”. But there are certainly worse places Josh could be going, and possibly could go, if he doesn’t do his time like a model prisoner.

It may turn out to be a relief for Josh to leave the Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he’s been since December, when he was convicted. I have heard that prison is much better than jail is, if only because prisoners are freer to move around, and there’s more to do. Jails are intended to be temporary, so there usually isn’t much for prisoners. They are locked down a lot more. At prison, Josh can get a job and maybe further his education. And his children might have a fighting chance of growing up with less chance of abuse, although given that they are probably going to be taken care of by Jim Bob, it’s definitely not an ideal situation.

Josh’s attorneys will appeal the sentence. I doubt it will go anywhere, but one never knows. For now, I suppose we can await the news that he’s been transferred to whichever facility he goes to in Texas. I suspect the drive down there will be pretty horrible. But twelve years isn’t so long. Twelve years ago, I lived in Georgia, and this blog was in its infancy on Blogger. Those years have gone by in a blur. So, while I wouldn’t want to do twelve years in prison… or twelve hours, this isn’t so bad for Josh. But he better watch himself. And in case anyone is wondering, yes… I think he will get in trouble again. I will be very surprised if Josh doesn’t end up back in prison at some point, after he’s released. We’ll see what happens.

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documentaries, Duggars, law, true crime, YouTube

Tomorrow is the big day… Josh Duggar’s fate will be sealed… and a little more about Amber and Daniel Carter…

Several months ago, I watched the French documentary, “America’s Broken Dream”, and found myself writing about a young married couple whose story captivated me. I did some checking back in December and discovered evidence that Amber Carter, who had seemed like a really good mom in the video, might have gotten in trouble with the law for having a couple of babies who were addicted to meth.

I still don’t know for certain that the Amber Carter I found is the same one who was in the documentary. Some people point to the discrepancy in the women’s ages. But– the narrative seems to fit, and there is a very strong physical resemblance.

A couple of days ago, a reader left me a couple of comments on the Amber and Daniel Carter story. The person told me that it appears that Daniel Carter is in San Diego, California, and his mother, Cindy, has custody of the children. I don’t know how true that is, but I will try to do some checking to see if I can find any evidence that the girls are safe. I hope they are.

What’s more on my mind today is that Josh Duggar is going to get sentenced to prison for receiving and possessing images of children being sexually abused. A lot of people are hoping that Josh gets a very stiff sentence. I agree that Josh’s conduct during the trial was pretty outrageous. There were a lot of images of him smiling, joking, and just being generally disgusting and disrespectful. His crimes, too, are pretty shameful. What I find especially terrible, though, is that Josh and his posse have been trying to pin the blame on Caleb Williams for what was found on Josh’s computer.

Caleb Williams was, a few years ago, falsely rumored to be courting Jana Duggar. The truth is, he was betrothed to a young girl, whom he got pregnant out of wedlock. She was sixteen years old, and he was 23, when they had sex. Because the girl was underage, her parents prosecuted Caleb for sexually abusing a minor. Caleb is now a registered sex offender, and is not allowed any contact with his daughter. The Duggars, being “fine, upstanding Christians”, (/sarcasm) decided to try to blame Caleb for what is clearly Josh’s crime.

Heigh ho, heigh ho… it’s off to the joint you go…

I find it absolutely disgusting that a family that is supposedly Christian, is trying to frame an innocent man for a truly vile and reprehensible crime and against children– to include toddlers and babies. It’s true that Caleb is a sex offender, and he did do wrong, but what Caleb did isn’t even in the same stratosphere as what Josh has repeatedly done, and never had to pay for in the criminal sense. Moreover, how can a person call themselves Christian, yet be so dishonest and unwilling to repent? I guess, in the Duggar world, if one just prays and asks Jesus for forgiveness, dresses the “modest” way, and listens to Jim Bob on all matters, that’s enough to win God’s favor. The cognitive dissonance is astonishing.

I hope and expect the judge will see through this, and give Josh some time to consider his actions. But, given that this is officially his first offense, I won’t be surprised if Josh doesn’t get the time a lot of people are hoping for, which is 20 years locked up in federal custody. Personally, I think he may get twelve to fourteen years. That would still give his children some time to get older, and hopefully, escape the fundie cult. Maybe Anna will even consider divorcing Josh during that time, although she definitely doesn’t seem to want to do that at this point.

There are a whole bunch of videos on YouTube about Josh’s potential fate right now. I’ve watched a few of them, and all I can say is that everybody seems to be saying the same thing. Just pick your channel– Without a Crystal Ball, Down the Rabbit Hole, or any of the other people talking about Josh and his gross crimes against children, his enabling parents, and his completely brainwashed wife. I don’t have too much to add to what the people on YouTube are saying. I think Josh should be out of society, because he can’t control himself, and I think he WILL reoffend, if he has the opportunity. I’ve seen and read too many stories about sex offenders who could not control their dark impulses.

In fact, I even know of a guy from college who was once a pillar of his community, until he was caught with illegal pornographic images and videos involving minors. He was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison. He went to prison and was eventually released early, after just four years– only to reoffend within weeks. The person I knew in college moved to Texas and, to my knowledge, is now in a federal prison in Texas, receiving treatment for his issues. Maybe he will meet Josh Duggar. Who knows?

It will be interesting to see where Josh goes to prison. I know that many people expect that he’ll go somewhere with a child sex offender treatment program. But I don’t know if he would be required to get treatment, or if there is space available for him. And, to be honest, I’m not sure how effective treatment programs are, particularly when someone is in denial. Given that Josh hasn’t accepted responsibility for what he was caught with, is trying to blame Caleb Williams (and Joe Biden, WTF), and has made some very damning statements indicating his guilt, I think Josh has a ways to go before he can be helped with his obvious problems. But that’s just my opinion.

Anyway… I hope justice is served. Josh will probably soon get some “diesel therapy”, as the “Reverend” Jim Bakker put it. Diesel therapy is when prisoners are loaded up into a bus (or on a plane) and driven (or flown) to new facilities. It’s not pleasant at all. Actually, I think transporting prisoners without giving them bathroom breaks is inhumane. However, I understand that it’s done that way because of the security risks. In any case, at the very least, I think Josh is about to experience prison transportation. Based on what I’ve heard, and read, it’s going to suck. Below is a video about “diesel therapy”.

Yikes.

My guess is that Josh will soon be intimately acquainted with this aspect of the federal prison experience, along with many others… We shall see. I don’t think it’s right to “torture” prisoners, even ones as yucky as Josh is. And as gross as Josh is, he isn’t the worst person in the world. However, he is pretty vile… and he may soon become more vile, as he meets and mingles with others who are as icky as he is.

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book reviews, true crime

A review of Through the Glass, by Shannon Moroney… a woman’s life temporarily shattered by her ex husband’s violent crimes

When it comes to reading books, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my will to use them for reading. There was a time when I could read several books in a month. But now, as I get older, and my eyesight gets worse, it’s a struggle to finish a book in a matter of weeks. I keep trying, though, and I keep buying virtual books from Amazon, which may sit in my queue for years before I ever get around to reading them. Such is the case regarding Canadian author Shannon Moroney’s 2011 book, Through the Glass, which Amazon tells me I bought in 2018.

I don’t remember why I bought Through the Glass. It might have been a suggestive sell when I bought something else. I might have read a salacious Daily Mail article that prompted me to download it. Who knows, at this point? I’m actually glad I read it just recently, though, because I think this case out of Canada is timely, given that this week, convicted sex offender, Josh Duggar, will finally be sentenced to prison for his crimes against children.

Like many people, I look forward to seeing Duggar get his due. However, even though think his wife, Anna, was somewhat complicit in Josh Duggar’s crimes, I also have some empathy for her situation. She’s a woman in a fundamentalist Christian cult, raised to submit to her husband in all matters. With seven young children, and not much to fall back on, she seems pretty stuck. There’s also no doubt in my mind that Anna has been repeatedly victimized by Josh. As I read Shannon Moroney’s story, I couldn’t help but think of Anna, although Anna is undoubtedly in a worse situation than Shannon Moroney was. Shannon at least had a career to fall back on, and no children to support.

Who is Shannon Moroney, and why has she written a book?

In October 2005, 30 year old teacher and school guidance counselor, Shannon Moroney, married Jason Staples, the man she once thought was the love of her life. The two had met at a Kingston, Ontario soup kitchen three years earlier, where Shannon had brought some of her students to work. Jason was the head chef at the soup kitchen, and everybody loved him. He was always friendly and kind, and he had an amazing talent for art. Shannon was taken with him soon after meeting him; he seemed like the perfect guy. But there was just one thing that gave her pause. Jason Staples was a convicted murderer who was out on parole, having spent ten years in prison.

In 1988, just a few months after his 18th birthday, Jason Staples and his roommate, a 38 year old woman, had a brutal argument. The argument ended with the woman’s violent murder at Jason’s hands. Jason’s first victim was someone Jason’s very mentally ill mother and her abusive boyfriend had found, just before they moved away without him. The living situation obviously wasn’t good, though he tried to leave it before he finally snapped in what was originally deemed “adolescent rage”.

Jason later pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was given a sentence of Life-10. That meant he would spend ten years in prison, then be released on parole, which he would be on for the rest of his life, provided he did not reoffend. Jason had been a model prisoner, and the authorities believed his youth and good behavior made him a good risk for rehabilitation.

By the time Shannon met Jason, he’d already been out of prison for five years, and was doing well in the community. Jason had convinced many people that his dark impulses were in the past, and he was worthy of the second chance he was given. He even had plans to go back to school and earn a degree in art, hoping to make the most of the rest of his life. Shannon had checked out everything Jason told her about his past, and spoke to his parole officer and psychologist. She also examined his official records. Everything seemed to check out fine.

Just one month after their wedding, Shannon was writing thank you notes for wedding gifts and wondering if she was pregnant. She was staying in a Toronto area hotel for a work related trip. There was a knock at the door. When she opened it, her life changed forever. She had expected the knock to be from a colleague wanting to have breakfast. But it was a police officer, who handed her his card and said:

“I’m here about your husband,” the officer said. “Are you Jason Staples’s wife?”

Shannon nodded affirmatively, that she was Jason’s wife… of just one month. The officer told Shannon that Jason was arrested the night before, charged with sexual assault. The cop did not know many of the details of the crime, since he was a Toronto based officer, and Jason and Shannon lived in Peterborough, which was also where Jason committed his crimes. But the officer did know that Jason had called 911 himself, turned himself in, and gave a full confession to raping two women and confining them in the home he shared with Shannon. She was in total shock as she gathered her things and left the hotel room to go home, where she would face the horrifying truth. The beautiful life she had planned, to include having children, advancing in her career, and loving a man who had seemed to overcome his horrific past, had all evaporated.

Jason had kidnapped and raped two women who had come into the health food store where he worked part time. The first victim, a 46 year old woman, came into the store and Jason suddenly accosted her, held her at knife point, and sexually assaulted her. He confined her in the store’s basement. Then, a few minutes later, the second victim, who was much younger, entered the store. Jason held her at knife point, but she fought back, Jason then choked her into unconsciousness, and took her to the basement, where he sexually assaulted her. He bound both women with duct tape, then rented a van, and brought the two women to the home he shared with Shannon.

The two women bravely tried to rehumanize Jason, attempting to talk him down from his terrifying rage. Jason would switch back and forth, from monster to human. By 9:00 that evening, Jason had decided to kill himself. He procured some rope and a ladder. The women continued talking to him, trying to bring him back to his senses. Finally, at about 10:00, Jason spoke to Shannon on the phone. She was unaware that there were two bound women in her home, both of whom had been brutally raped by her husband. After the phone call, Jason went to a pay phone and called 911. He told the police who he was and what he’d done, then asked them to go to his house and help the women. Then he continued trying to formulate a suicide plan as he waited for the police to arrive. After 25 minutes, the police still hadn’t come; apparently, they thought his first call was a prank! So Jason called again. After the second call, the cops finally came. Jason ended his confession at the jailhouse, begging “Just put me away.”

As the investigation continued, Shannon learned that not only had Jason kidnapped and raped two women, but he had also installed cameras in their home, and recorded Shannon during private moments in the bathroom. So, Shannon was also one of Jason’s victims. However, because Shannon was Jason’s wife, many people assumed she was somehow complicit in his crimes. When Shannon asked if there was anything she could do to help the women who were raped, she was told that they “didn’t need to hear from Jason’s arena.” Shannon was left to pick up the pieces after Jason’s crimes, and she quickly found out that there was no support for people in her position.

Soon, it became clear to Shannon Moroney that even though she’d had nothing to do with Jason’s criminal behavior, and was in fact a victim herself, many people were going to judge her. She would not be entitled to any assistance from victim’s advocacy groups. Though she didn’t outright lose her job at her school, she was told that she would be transferred to a different school. Her principal went as far as to ban her from even setting foot in the school, claiming that her presence there would traumatize other people.

Jason was held in protective custody, for his own safety. He had lawyers to protect his rights. No one seemed to understand that Shannon needed help and protection, too. Everyone seemed to expect her to quickly divorce Jason and move on, even though Shannon still saw the human part of him and loved him. She suffered on all levels, from professionally to medically, and few people seemed to have any empathy for her situation. She was caught in the crossfire, being associated with someone who had committed horrific crimes. And very few people seemed to understand that she was as much of a victim as the two women who were sexually assaulted by her husband. Jason never gave any indication that he needed help. She’d thought he was okay, as had everyone involved with granting him parole.

As she spoke to Jason, through the glass partition at the jail, she learned about the tragedies in his life that had led him to where he was. Jason was adopted at three months old, and raised by a woman who sexually abused him. His adoptive father died when he was very young, and his mother took up with a man who abused her, and Jason. On the night of his crimes, Jason had also overdosed on some over-the-counter substances– caffeine pills and ephedra.

Shannon Moroney is interviewed about Jason’s crimes. She appears in many YouTube videos.

Picking up the pieces…

Slowly, Shannon Moroney put her life back together. She didn’t immediately divorce Jason, although many people seemed to think she should just quickly dump him and disassociate from him. She visited him in jail, and later, prison. At the same time, she tried to figure out how to move on from the legal fiasco that enveloped her. The process of rebuilding led her to change careers, and she earned a master’s degree at East Anglia University, in Norwich, England. Jason’s crimes and the aftermath of them made her want to do victim’s advocacy, and she eventually left teaching and counseling, and became an author and public speaker. After divorcing Jason, Shannon found love again and remarried. She now appears to be thriving, but as this book illustrates, it was a tough road to get where she is today.

My thoughts

Through the Glass is a fascinating book on many levels. As an American living in Germany, I’m always interested in seeing how other countries operate. Canada has a very different legal and penal system than the United States does, so that aspect of the story alone, was fascinating for me. Canada also has a very different healthcare system than the United States does. Shannon seemed to have a lot of support from her family doctor, a woman called Sue, who would actually come to Shannon’s home to see her and went to the jail to see Jason. I can’t imagine something like that happening in the United States.

The Canadian system seems a lot more humane than the US system does, although there were plenty of inhumane aspects of Shannon’s story. While she describes a lot of insensitivity toward her situation from friends and colleagues, overall, I think the Canadian people were more understanding toward her than Americans would be. It seems to me that Americans are very quick to judge, and judge harshly, and declare people guilty by association. By Shannon’s descriptions, at least her countrymen tried to understand her ordeal on some level. They would try to put on a pretense of kindness, even if they weren’t very helpful to her, as she navigated the horrific mess left to her in the wake of Jason’s crimes.

At one point, while he was being assessed, Jason was sent to a psychiatric facility, and Shannon describes visiting him there. It was a lot more welcoming than the prison was, and Jason was treated as a patient, rather than an inmate. I found myself agreeing with Shannon’s comments about how warehousing people in prisons isn’t very helpful to society, even though Jason obviously is a danger to others and probably should be kept away from society. Still, she seems to believe that prisoners should be treated with humanity. On that point, I totally agree with her, especially since most incarcerated people will eventually get out of prison. It serves society to see to it that they have the best chance at success when they are released.

On the other hand, I’m sure I’m among a lot of readers who have trouble reconciling how long she stayed married to Jason, especially when it was clear that he would not be leaving prison for a very long time, if ever. I can understand having basic empathy for other human beings, but Jason’s crimes were truly horrific and disgusting. One woman died, and two others were left with terrible memories of being brutalized by a madman. Sometimes, Shannon seemed overly empathic toward Jason, trying to paint him as a really good man who was just misunderstood. I was glad to read when she finally divorced him, even though he has some redeeming qualities. When it comes down to it, though, Jason can’t be rehabilitated enough to be in public again.

It occurs to me that Shannon Moroney has something in common with Elizabeth Smart, in that she’s turned a horrific tragedy in her life into a way to help others. That’s admirable.

Overall

I think most people would find Shannon Moroney’s story interesting. However, some readers might be disgusted by what seems like a lack of empathy for the victims, since she does show empathy for Jason. Personally, I believe Shannon when she claims that she does have empathy for Jason’s victims. I also appreciated that she was honest about her conflicted feelings for her ex husband, Jason Staples. I think it was good that she stated her true feelings, rather than just expressing what people wanted to hear from her. But, knowing what I know about the public at large, and the black and white thinking that a lot of people have, I know some readers won’t see it the way I do. We often expect people to feel the way we think they should feel, when life isn’t always that simple.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book, that has been waiting for be read for years. As we await Josh Duggar’s upcoming prison sentence, I will try to have some empathy for his wife, Anna, and the mess she’s in right now. It’s easy for us to see that Anna should leave Josh, but we don’t see life from her perspective. It’s not always so simple. Shannon Moroney’s story really drives home that truism, at least for me.

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Duggars, law, true crime

Apparently, some people still love Josh Duggar…

Apparently, in spite of his well-known crimes against children, Josh doesn’t have a face only a mother could love…

In a couple of weeks, notorious convicted sex offender and former reality TV star, Josh Duggar, will be headed to some federal prison facility. Josh Duggar is much reviled for the crimes of which he’s been found guilty, which include receiving and possessing pornography involving children, as well as crimes for which he was never punished by a court of law, which include molesting his sisters and a babysitter. I remember that even before the year 2015, when Josh’s earliest crimes became common knowledge, a lot of people thought he was a vile creep. I used to read about him in the forums on the now defunct site, Television Without Pity, and raise my eyebrows at the derisive comments about Josh, who was often called “Smuggar”. People thought he was a massive asshole even before they knew about his many creepy issues with sex. Now that we know about the bad things he’s done, he’s now outright hated by a lot of people.

But Josh Duggar does still have some people in his life who love him. Naturally, Josh’s parents love him. Josh’s wife, Anna, inexplicably still seems to love him. I guess his kids love him… or, I would assume they do. And he still seems to have some friends in his community. I base these comments on the bizarre letters these folks wrote to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, who will be handing down Josh’s prison sentence in a couple of weeks. The first one I saw was from Josh’s mother, Michelle Duggar, who signed her name with a little heart over the “i” in her first name. I would certainly expect Michelle to support her son. She gave birth to him, after all. Her letter to Josh made me cringe a little bit, but of course I knew she’d support him. Jim Bob probably made her do it, if she wasn’t already willing. Below is a screenshot of Michelle’s letter to the judge on Josh’s behalf.

WTF, Michelle?

Anna also wrote a letter to Judge Brooks. I would expect Anna to write a letter, since she’s Josh’s wife. Even if she’s faking having actual love for him, she does depend on him for support. So of course she wants him out of prison as soon as possible, since they have seven children together. Still, I can’t help but remember that Josh allegedly cheated on Anna with a sex worker, who later described him as a violent person. He had a subscription to Ashley Madison. To read this letter, one would think Josh’s problems are very “minor”… Is Anna really this brainwashed?

There are several other letters of support from people in Josh’s life, most of them church people. Below is a lengthy screed written by a woman named Nicole Burress, whose property is adjacent to the Duggar family’s property. Burress describes herself as a former pediatric nurse who has met abused children. Her letter really shocked me, since I would hope that a nurse would know better than a lot of people how damaging abuse is toward children. And yet, she champions Josh for 3.25 pages…

I don’t know anything about Nicole Burress. I do wonder if she wrote this letter in a spirit of genuine concern for Josh, or because Jim Bob threatened her somehow. This woman is a wife and a mother, a Christian, and a former pediatric nurse. And yet, she’s standing up for a convicted sex offender, and acting as if his issues are curable. I think a cure for Josh is extremely unlikely.

Other letters came from LeCount Reber, whose home Josh lived in while he awaited his trial, his father-in-law, Michael E. Keller, Nicole Burress’ husband, Timothy, and David Waller, who is a pastor and Josh’s brother-in-law. Most of the letters bring up times in the past when Josh did something “kind” or charitable. Some of the letters describe Josh as “polite” and even “gentle”. One person pointed out that Josh “didn’t choose this life” of notoriety, and he will never enjoy privacy. To that point, all I can do is scratch my head. How does not having privacy excuse Josh from downloading and viewing material depicting sexual abuse of children? Was that the cause of Josh’s perversion? I tend to think not.

I think of all of the letters I’ve read, though, Michelle’s gives me the most pause. Yes, I would expect her to love her son. I would expect her to want him to be out of prison… although it does puzzle me that she’s not just as caring toward her daughters, who were among Josh’s first victims. But in her letter, she writes about how Josh played games with his kids, took them hiking, and built them forts. Okay… so he did “daddy” things with his kids, as I would expect. But how does this excuse Josh for what we know he did? And why doesn’t Michelle spare a thought for the four daughters who endured Josh’s perversions when they were kids? As a mother of 19 children, doesn’t Michelle have any regard for the children who were harmed by her son’s actions? I get that she’s Josh’s mom, but doesn’t she have any empathy for the parents of the victims, who would probably like to skin Josh alive or burn him at a stake?

I’m not sure how effective these letters are going to be as Judge Brooks considers Josh’s sentence. I think a lot of people will be very outraged if Josh doesn’t get a harsh punishment. Granted, he doesn’t have a prior record of criminal misconduct, but he definitely should have had one. The only reason he doesn’t have a police record is because no one reported the crimes before the statute of limitations expired. He clearly has a real problem, and it’s not safe for him to be around children. I hope Judge Brooks pays more attention to the statement made by the mother of one of the children victimized in the material that Josh downloaded. The child’s mom wrote:

“I can find no words to express the fury I feel at those who participate in this evil,” she stated, “or my scorn for any attempt to minimize the responsibility by feeble claims that the crime was ‘victimless.’ 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.”

And the child herself had a comment for Josh:

“Don’t you know no one should do that to a little girl!” she wrote. “Don’t you know it hurts!”

Obviously, for all of the positive character qualities that Josh allegedly possesses, he has done some very bad things. And while I would never advocate for him to be treated inhumanely, because I don’t advocate for cruelty, I do think he needs to be taken out of society. I also think that he’ll one day get out of prison. When that happens, he will reoffend, unless by some miracle someone comes up with a way to treat pedophilia.

My heart goes out to Josh’s victims, especially his children, who really “didn’t ask for this life.” Imagine the horror of being the child of a reality TV star whose fame is now overshadowed by the infamy of being a sex offender. What will it be like for those children, as they grow up with the shadow of Josh’s disgusting and disgraceful crimes hanging over their heads? Imagine being one of Josh’s sons. I suspect they may have a difficult time finding wives some day. Who would want to have Josh as a father-in-law? That’s only one aspect of how hard it’s going to be for Josh’s children in the coming years. They are really going to suffer, although they’ll presumably be safer from their father’s obsessions.

I will be surprised if Josh gets the 20 year maximum, but I sure hope he’s in the jug longer than the five years his attorneys have requested. What he did wasn’t harmless… and it’s part of a worrying trend in Josh’s life. He’s clearly a deceitful person, who only disguises himself as decent and God fearing. Underneath that smug exterior, there’s someone with some very serious antisocial qualities. So… while I understand that some people still love Josh Duggar, and they hope that the judge grants him leniency, I have a lot more concern for the children who were hurt by him. I think their safety should count for much more than Josh’s fans’ hopes for leniency. But we’ll see what the judge decides in a couple of weeks.

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