Skip to Content

Disgusting monster Josh Duggar was released from jail pending his child porn trial.

For now, his bond includes close restrictions to keep him out of contact with children, including his own.

Many fans are also placing blame on his father, Jim Bob, who never got him real treatment after past offenses.

But is Josh’s twisted attraction to extremely young girls something that can ever be cured?

According to court testimony at a hearing this week, Josh allegedly accessed photos and video of children.

The girls, shown being sexually abused, were reportedly between the ages of 5 and 10.

It is a horror to think of someone gleefully collecting footage of ruined lives.

Josh Duggar and His Wife

That, of course, is why receiving child porn is illegal — not just the making of it.

Victims of child porn, whether they are still children or are adults and even those who have died, deserve better.

It’s not enough to prosecute the people who hurt them; the footage must be kept out of circulation.

Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar: A Photo

It’s not illegal merely because it’s gross; many things are gross but perfectly legal.

We have to understand the depths of the crime to appreciate how sinister this is.

In this case, a father of six is accused of collecting media of the sexual abuse of little, prepubescent girls.

Josh Duggar Parties

What makes matters worse, but also less surprising, in Josh’s case is his personal history.

We’re not talking about the Ashley Madison cheating scandal or his prior (adult) "porn scandal."

His family may see all of this as part of the same problem, but cheating and porn are not the same at all.

Josh Duggar at the Zoo

When Josh was 14 years old, he sexually abused multiple little girls, including several of his own sisters.

A teenage boy preying upon 5-year-olds is not childhood experimentation — it’s the actions of a budding monster.

Instead of reporting the crimes or getting him into treatment, his family covered it up, opting for "faith-based counseling."

Josh Duggar and His Poor Wife

The problem with that and every other "rehab" of Jim Bob’s choosing is that it could not possibly have helped.

Within the fundamentalist cult to which they belong, just about all of human sexuality is seen as evil.

It’s seen as the fault of women, who apparently "tempt" men merely by existing.

Josh Duggar: Back on the 'Gram

They effectively view child molestation as the same problem as masturbation, or child porn as the same problem as adultery.

As a result, no faith-based counseling could possibly have helped.

It’s like trying to get help for an infection from a "doctor" who doesn’t believe in germs. They can’t help, because they don’t understand.

Josh Duggar Throwback

In Josh’s case, he — like his victims — was deliberately kept ignorant about much of sexuality.

It’s not just not knowing about sex; they were also not taught about consent.

Their fundamentalist beliefs take consent out of the equation, as wives are compelled to cater to the desires of their husbands.

Anna and Josh Duggar Throwback

We may never know if Josh would have even had an interest in such extremely young girls if he’d grown up in normal society.

Sexual attraction to children is believed to be rooted in mixed signals between the instinct to have sex and the instinct to nurture.

(This does not really apply to grown men who pursue teen girls; that’s usually about power more than physical attraction)

Josh Duggar and a Child

But the question is … could he have changed? Could he still change?

If he’d gotten real help at 14, would he still have reached his thirties with a desire for extremely young girls?

And if the court orders him to seek real counseling after this trial (possibly in prison), could it make a difference?

Duggars Celebrate Christmas

Studies have shown that there is a high rate of recidivism among sex offenders.

One of the reasons is that the very complicated motivations that drive them to commit their crimes don’t go away.

It’s not like financially motivated crimes, because there is a very real psychological element behind it.

It is thought that sex offenders repeat their harmful behaviors because they have no means to report them.

If an alcoholic has a relapse, they tell a support group, a sponsor, or a therapist.

Obviously, someone whose "relapse" involves accessing video of children’s lives being destroyed will likely be (correctly) reported to authorities.

Return of Josh

Ultimately, for any "rehab" to work, a pathological sexual impulse would have to be put into the proper context.

After that, someone with a sexual attraction to children would have to want to change.

It’s not that their attraction would magically change — it’s that they would choose to prioritize child safety over their own desires.

Josh Duggar on Election Day

This isn’t some sort of impossible goal.

Though it is under-studied (and difficult to study), there are people in our society who feel but do not act upon these same desires.

Many experts believe that these non-predators may outnumber the people who do seek child porn or physical victims.

Josh Duggar With Wife and Kids

We can only assume that the primary reason for this self-control is prioritizing the safety of children.

So, in theory, someone who has committed offenses like Josh could choose to change, in the right circumstances.

Josh can’t be "cured" of his desires, but someone could choose to not be a danger to kids.

Josh Duggar and Child

For those who do seek counseling, treatment is about finding healthy sexual outlets for their urges.

(That might be impossible within the Duggar cult, which of course is a huge part of the underlying problem)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and strengths-based therapies are employed to redirect a person away from actual victims.

Abbie Burnett Married To Josh Duggar

That said … Josh was first caught when he was 14. He is now 33 years old.

He has had more than half of his life to make better choices, but if the charges against him are true, he has not.

Therefore, fans can only conclude that Josh himself is never going to change.

Josh Duggar, Anna Duggar, and Kids in 2017

But the Duggar family as a whole — most of them, anyway — will continue to deliberately misunderstand the problem.

Viewing Josh’s scandals as demonic attacks against their family will not keep children safe.

And no amount of prayer or performative repentance can replace a genuine desire to change.