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.
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.