This month, Josh Duggar passed on a plea deal that could have spared him from going to trial.
It is hoped that when his jury trial begins in late November, he will swiftly be found guilty.
But all of this could have been prevented if the right people had made better choices.
Instead, at every turn, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar lied, covered, and worked to sweep what Josh really is under the rug.
Josh is accused of using his work computer to download photos and video of the sexual abuse of little girls.
The downloads, using peer-to-peer software, allegedly took place in the spring of 2019.
It was half a year later when Homeland Security investigators raided the car lot where Josh works, collecting statements and gathering evidence.
Interestingly, Jim Bob and MIchelle publicly denied that an investigation was even taking place.
Their denials were so effective that, with no official word or swift arrest to follow, many assumed that this was no big deal.
After all, controversial public figures like the Duggars can “make the news” even if an employee or neighbor is being investigated.
Jim Bob, Michelle, Josh, Anna, and the rest likely wished that things had remained as unclear as they were following the raid.
(That said, it’s unclear how much the rest of the Duggar family really knew — Jim Bob is not exactly known for honesty)
However, a year and a half later, in April of 2021, Josh was arrested and formally charged with receiving and possessing this disgusting material.
That was when the world learned what Josh was accused of doing.
However, given the nature of the investigation, what evidence was reviewed, and what questions were asked … other people must have known before that.
Those other people would surely have involved Jim Bob.
There are no indications that Jim Bob adequately prepared the family for Josh’s arrest.
It’s possible that Jim Bob was foolish enough to believe Josh’s insistence that he has done nothing wrong.
It seems more likely, however, that Jim Bob was just interested in keeping the problem quiet as much as he could for as long as he could.
After all, the Duggars aren’t just a family embedded in a toxic, abusive cult.
They are also a business and a brand. They promote a watered down version of their extreme lifestyle and they make money doing it.
There’s nothing quite like a confessed child-molester (whose crimes you covered up) being arrested for something like this to tank your struggling brand.
Most people — you know, good, decent people — would be more worried about a sexual predator than about business.
We get it, business is important because it keeps your family fed and housed.
But what could be more important than the physical safety of actual children?
Jim Bob and Michelle, like the rest of the IBLP cult, is much more concerned with outward appearances.
Right and wrong take a back seat to their extreme beliefs and the “importance” of making their lifestyle seem palatable for the cameras.
As for the welfare of children … we’re talking about a group that hides sexual predators and practices blanket training. They’re not against abuse.
Earlier this year, an inside source more or less confirmed as much.
“Jim Bob always wants to sweep things under the rug,” the insider told People at the time.
The source added: “He’s never going to talk about the scandal because it’s bad for business.”
One of the clearest indicators that Jim Bob truly did not make sure that the family knew what was coming was how normal everyone acted.
Josh wasn’t showing up regularly on social media, but he was still attending family events — the ones with kids.
Just two months before his arrest, he was at Justin and Claire’s wedding.
When Josh was arrested, the Duggars were clearly sent into a panic.
Most of them straight-up disappeared from social media, going on hiatuses without explanation.
Others gave neutral to tone deaf statements (“condemning pornography” is largely unrelated to Josh’s arrest, folks) before going silent.
Now, however, a bunch of them are posting like it’s business as usual.
They’ll post about their kids, their religious beliefs, what they ate for lunch, and other generic reality TV star Instagram shenanigans.
Some of them are even on TikTok, of all places, trying to spread their brand to a demographic that’s mostly never even seen them on TV.
It’s strange to see them act like nothing’s happening — but it’s worse than that.
All of this is a reminder of how the family, including Josh’s victims, were forced to act after his first foray into sexual predation.
This is how they operate. If Josh is convicted, acquitted, or ultimately not prosecuted after too many deadlocked juries, they’ll do it again.