FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On May 11, the prosecution submitted a sentencing memorandum in Joshua Duggar’s child pornography case in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court.
The detailed, 30-page document concludes with the government asking the court for a “Guidelines-compliant sentence” of 20 years in prison for Duggar, 34, the former reality TV star who was found guilty of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography in December 2021. For sentencing purposes, one of those two charges was dismissed, so 20 years is the maximum possible sentence.
The filing begins by detailing Duggar’s two-count indictment in April 2021, as well as the subsequent trial on those charges and the guilty verdict. Then it proceeds to explain his crimes in detail: 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 notes that “U.S. Probation’s calculation under the United States Sentencing Guidelines set out in the final PSR [pre-sentence report] reflects an advisory range of imprisonment of 360 months to life, which will be capped by the offense maximum of 240 months set by statute for Count One in the indictment.”
The memo continues by stating that “the conduct established at trial supports the application of all contested enhancements and establishes that the offense involved 600 or more images, warranting the application of a five-level enhancement.”
The filing also makes note of Duggar’s “prior sexual exploitation of multiple minors” and “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 also addresses objections made by the defense regarding insufficient evidence. The document notes that a court only needs to “find facts…by a preponderance of the evidence.” They clarify this by explaining that to apply a sentencing enhancement, the court only needs to find it “more likely than not” that the defendant engaged in the relevant conduct.
The filing continues by refuting 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 government cites multiple prior cases to support their stance that Duggar clearly and “factually” distributed CSAM himself.
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 Duggar’s “repeated acts of child molestation” that were detailed during the trial through testimony by family friend Bobye Holt. The filing also notes comments regarding molestation made by the defendant’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, at a pretrial hearing.
Again, the government cited multiple relevant court cases that support their stance seeking the enhancement. They also took issue with Duggar’s claims that his offense “only involved 127 images,” stating that the evidence presented at trial involved over 600 images.
The memo continues by explaining the “great lengths” Duggar took to circumvent Covenant Eyes accountability software on his computer in order to download CSAM and “at the same time conceal and therefore prolong his ability to engage in this conduct.”
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” in clear detail, again citing relevant case law. It also includes 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,” and citing the fact that the material contained prepubescent girls significantly younger than Duggar “the singular most important factor for the Court to consider in imposing sentence.”
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 also describes the illegal material Duggar downloaded as “being among the worst of the worst” as “distressingly, the market for child pornography has continued to grow.” They add that there is no evidence that he is 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 concludes, before requesting a sentence of 240 months to “ensure that outcome.”
The sentencing memorandum was signed by U.S. attorney David Fowlkes, assistant US. attorney Dustin Roberts, assistant U.S. attorney Carly Marshall and trial attorney William Clayman.