Skip to main content

Before Josh Duggar’s trial kicked off in November 2021, the defense and the prosecution debated whether the prosecution could discuss his teenage behaviors at the trial. In a hearing just a day before the trial began, Judge Timothy L. Brooks ruled that the prosecution could openly discuss the previous molestation allegations. While it didn’t appear to factor heavily into the guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney, Clay Fowlkes, said he believed Josh’s past behaviors did factor into his sentence.

Bobye Holt testified about Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse of his sisters at the December 2021 trial

In December 2021, Bobye Holt, a former Duggar family friend, took the stand to testify about Josh Duggar’s previous sexual abuse allegations. Holt told the judge and jury that she and her husband, Jim Holt, were approached by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in 2003 when they learned Josh had been inappropriately touching his sisters. The Holt family was not seen at Josh Duggar’s sentencing.

According to Holt, Josh was in a relationship with her eldest daughter, Kaeleigh Holt, at the time. The relationship ended immediately, although the Holts continued to counsel the Duggars and Josh. A letter that Kaeleigh penned after she learned of the abuse later fell into the hands of a family friend. The letter was the catalyst for a police report filed regarding the abuse inside the home. Josh nor his victims ever received professional counseling.

U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes says he believes the testimony factored into Josh Duggar’s sentence

The defense worked tirelessly to suppress any mention of Josh Duggar’s prior sexual abuse. They lost the battle just a day before the trial started. While his previous acts did not factor into the guilty verdict he received, U.S. Attorney Fowlkes said he believes the prior behavior was considered when Judge Brooks handed down his sentence.

5 News streamed the press conference immediately following Josh Duggar’s sentencing. During the press conference, Fowlkes said he believed Josh’s prior behavior showed a pattern of abuse. He went on to say that information factored into the sentencing recommendation and the judge’s decision. He stated that while Judge Brooks did not sentence Josh to the recommended 20 years behind bars, the prosecution was happy with the outcome of the sentencing hearing.

Josh Duggar’s defense team stated that they plan to appeal the decision within 14 days, as required by law. Previous motions to acquit and a motion for a new trial have been dismissed. An appeal is not uncommon in this type of case.

The disgraced former reality TV star will need to take part in a sex offenders program while behind bars

Josh Duggar’s sentencing ended with the proclamation that he would spend 12 and a half years behind bars for downloading and possessing child pornography. By the time he is released from prison, four of his seven children will be over 18. His youngest child, Madyson Lily Duggar, will be nearly 13. She was born just a month before Josh’s trial began.

Josh Duggar speaks during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference
Josh Duggar | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Josh Duggar Sentenced in Child Pornography Case

Josh won’t be sitting around waiting to walk out of a federal detention center. Judge Brooks suggested Josh participate in a sex offenders program while behind bars. The prison the judge recommended, FCI Seagoville, has a strong program for sex offenders. Fernando Rivas, the composer famous for his work on Sesame Street, is currently serving his sentence for creating and sending child pornography at the detention center. FCI Seagoville is located in Texas, more than five hours from the Duggar family’s Springdale, Arkansas compound

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.