By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Josh Duggar has been convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography.
As this is arguably the biggest scandal to ever impact the world of reality television, there are many angles to explore, and you’re sure to see plenty of hot takes and wild speculation in the weeks to come.
In addition to the perils of unearned, overnight wealth and fame, the Josh saga raises new concerns about the abuses that take place in cult-like religious communities and hyper-patriarchal cultures.
Several members of the Duggar family have already risked being shunned by speaking out against Josh’s actions — but he still seems to have the support of the people who matter most in his life.
We’re talking, of course, about Josh’s wife, Anna, and his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle.
In all likelihood, they’ll be the ones writing letters to the judge before Josh’s sentencing hearing in April.
First and foremost, they’ll be requesting leniency in sentencing (Josh faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines).
But they’ll also be asking that Josh be placed in a facility close to his family’s home in Springdale, Arkansas.
Because Josh was convicted of federal offenses, he could conceivably be shipped to just about any corner of the nation.
Anna, Jim Bob, and Michelle will request that Josh be placed as close to home as possible — and when imploring the judge to be compassionate in his sentencing instructions, they’ll no doubt cite Josh’s children as the primary reason to show mercy.
Yes, it’s unpleasant to think about, but we’re sure that Josh and Anna have already discussed ways that he might continue to be present in his kids’ lives.
Even with lenient sentencing and an early release, Josh will probably be locked up for at least the next decade.
Which means that if Anna wants her kids to have any memories of Josh from their most formative years, she’ll need to take them for fairly frequent visits with their incarcerated father.
Of course, that’s a big if, as it’s possible that Anna doesn’t want her kids to have a relationship with Josh.
The answer to this question is a long way off, but Duggar watchers are already wondering if Anna will permit Josh to be alone with their kids after he gets out of prison.
The short answer is yes, she will, because insiders say Anna still believes Josh is innocent, and since she’s been raised to believe that divorce is a mortal sin, there’s probably nothing that he could do that would cause her to leave him.
And we don’t know of any arrangements that allow a woman to stay married to her husband while also denying him custody of their kids.
But as a hypothetical exercise, In Touch asked Los Angeles family lawyer Goldie Schon what sort of options Anna would have if she wanted to ensure that her kids never see Josh again.
“[She] would have the right essentially to go back to court to modify [any visitation rights] to make it less to whatever it is now if, in fact, he has unsupervised time with those kids if they’re in danger,” Schon told the outlet.
“The flip side of that would be that he [could] say, ‘Yes, I was found guilty of pornography [charges], but that does not mean I’m a danger to my children,’” she continued.
“So, his defense would be: ‘Yes, I looked at porn, and yes, I’m guilty, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to hurt my children, and therefore, the court should not lessen my time or take the children away from me or cause me to have supervised time with my children.’”
Anna would be forced to do battle with the wealthy and powerful Duggar family — and you know Jim Bob and Michelle would fight tooth and nail to protect Josh’s parental rights.
Even so, Anna might emerge victorious.
“[Anna] definitely has a lot of ammunition at this point since he was found guilty in order to minimize his time or cause the time to be supervised with the children to ensure that the safety of the children is maintained,” says Schon.
“If he is incarcerated, there’s not going to be any time with the children anyway, so she will get a modification in order to change custody to her primarily and solely.”
Sadly, this scenario will likely never play out, as Anna has reportedly remained 100 percent loyal to Josh.
Still, it’s hard not to fantasize about a future in which Josh Duggar is never permitted to be anywhere near children, including his own.