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Complex Situation with my family
1. I have
obscured detail to protect the innocent and cause no harm.
2. I would like advice, different perspectives, and help.
3. I have support of my closest friend, who thinks the same as me. Good support, but a similar perspective.
Several years ago, my sister In-law married a man who is a convicted child molester. At the time, my wife and I disowned and disconnected with them, it was a tough decision as my wife and her sister were extremely close but with children of our own we felt it was the best option. After a few years, my sister in-law had a child with this man. After a few more years my sister in-law was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and given 12 months to live, at this time my wife reconnected with her sister. We agreed that our children would never set foot in their house, and if the sister in-law wanted to meet at our house, we would support that so that we could spend what little time we had together. Recently my sister in-law died, leaving everyone understandably devastated, and one of her wishes was that my wife remains close to her child. This means we now need to interact directly with the convicted child molester.
Our children still will not set foot in his house, but now he will drop their child at our house, this disgusts me. He makes my blood boil, I do not want him anywhere near my family, including my wife. I do not trust this man at all, and I have no reason to believe he won’t reoffend. I cannot talk to my wife about this yet, as the pain of recently losing her sister is still too much. Ultimately, I am concerned for their child as well, but I have only spent a handful of hours with the child.
How do I move forward?
I fear that the on-going interaction with my wife and this man will result in her letting her guard down. I do not want my family to interact with him. I love my Wife so much and I do not want this to break us apart. She has already helped look after the child several times, sometimes at their house and sometimes the child has come to our house. It's driving me insane; I am repulsed on so many levels - but I understand why she needs to do it.
To help understand my perspective, I lost a close friend after they were a victim of child molestation - To me, this is the worst crime anyone can commit.
I feel like there is no way out of this situation.
Could we get custody of the child (is that even possible?).
Should I try convince my wife to completely disconnect?
I need some help.
I'd be as repulsed as you. Being a retired ex prison officer, ranger, security and PI I don't think you'd expect anything else.
Adoption would be out of the question because, he's done his time and there's no evidence he's an unfit parent, indeed he could be a very good one.
It's important for your wife to be an active auntie however, how active?. I'd suggest that is her call. You seem to be getting worked up over his criminal history of child abuse when physically you have no direct contact with him. It would be wrong to assume he'll harm his child in the same manner...the world revolves around evidence. He does have rights, just a fact.
I'd try to calm down and maintain your boundaries. Allow your wife to fulfill her obligations. I'd refuse him to have ANY access to your own children.
You've acknowledge that you are heavily effected as an old friend was molested. To allow yourself to wind up due to that is being over reactive but understandable.
Beyondblue topic worry worry worry
Hello Mr E, I'm deeply sorry for the passing of your sister in law (SIL) and it's a very precarious situation, especially as the kids become more attached to each other, but certainly causing more anxiety.
Custody of the child will not be easy, it will become expensive with the chance of disruption to the kids, and maybe not knowing why this has to be.
If your wife has to babysit his child at their house, I wouldn't believe this would be too comfortable under the circumstances, as many thoughts and queries would begin to surface, and there is a difference why she does, is it because she wants to look after the child or whether she wants to help him out and if she goes alone.
It won't be easy to try and get your wife to disconnect if she cares or worried about the child if it's her sisters, so this could be her first priority and not the father, however, there maybe much for him to try and encourage your wife that he can be trusted, that would be a big mistake.
Does the school/kindergarten know of his past and prevent him from able to pick up his child.
None of us can give you an answer to why your SIL wanted to marry a chap with these convictions, I would feel the same as you.
G'day Mr E
I think "complex" is the operative word here.
The question is, will intervention on your part be helpful, or detrimental to the welfare of the child. If you do intervene, are you doing it for the child, or to satisfy your own personal prejudices.
The one thing I would not do, is share your opinions with the school, or the neighbors. This will most likely backfire if the father is forced to relocate with the child. Should that happen, you can add another dimension of complexity.
To my mind, the current arrangement is the best you could hope for. It allows your wife to monitor the child's welfare while maintaining the father-child relationship. He may be a very good father; I don't know.
I would otherwise endorse Tony's (WK) post. You need to do what you think is best for your children and consider what is best for the other child.
One more opinion.
I acknowledge that I could be overreacting, but I really don't trust this guy. He is manipulative, he hasn't told the schools about his history, which I believe he is obligated to. He goes to parks with his child, he invited other child to there house for play dates a few years ago. They had to relocate 3 times in the past 8 years
Physically he is 6foot 5, and probably 130kg. He could easily overwhelm my wife.
He had a very lenient sentence because of his work with a charity group. An organisation that allowed his behaviour. I know he has rights, but I think the justice system has failed here. 60+ chargew over 5 years for a 5 year sentence reduced to 3.
I might be wrong, I might be overreacting but if I'm not I could lose everything.
Hi Mr E
I might be wrong but I would accept in this situation what you can change and what you can't
He will manipulate everyone but it's very hard for u to feel responsible for that. The wya he impacts directly on ur family I think u can control
Firm boundaries 100 percent of the time
If he wants to come in - no
If he wants to chat further - no
Maybe even keeping everyone in ur family clear on this
I do believe you can protect your family from him
The disgust I feel towards him too and I understand your desire to protect the most vulnerable from someone who harms.
Hi Mr E, if I was in your position, undoubtedly I would feel the same and definitely, my wife (ex) would have grave conservations about any contact with him.
It is so sad for his child but that's for another discussion.
The school should and needs to know of his convictions, no short cuts, the full report of what's happened, again, any ricochet that bounces back to his child can have detrimental effects and create negative thoughts, unfortunately for them.
The fact he has had to move so often certainly makes a point, and it is your right to talk to the school and voice your opinion.
I would think that the more parents who voice their own feelings something maybe done, so please let us know.
Hi Mr E
I believe that your brother-in-law will always be a risk to children. I don't think his perverse desires will ever change and it's just a matter of time until he reoffends, if he hasn't already. So, as a mother, my response is focused on the needs of the children involved.
In an ideal world, this man would not be a risk I would try to mitigate. I would seek to eliminate the risk. However, I understand why this would be incredibly difficult at present. So, I'm going to suggest tightening the rules around visitation and increasing risk awareness.
I would insist on being home whenever your neice/nephew comes to visit. Take the responsibility to ensure your children never have contact with him and your wife is supported and protected.
I know this would be hard for you given how you feel about him, but you're never going to regret protecting your children. And you're not going to get any second chances.
I also believe you should have an age-appropriate conversation with your children, so they know to stay away from this man. Because they have a relationship with their cousin, they could easily be lured into an unsafe situation by the presence of their cousin.
The man and cousin should also be banned from social media accounts. No contact with your kids.
If you can't do this, then as harsh as this sounds, I would insist the visits stop.
I don't believe your neice/nephew is safe with him either. The same goes for any other child he comes in contact with at the school or park.
If it were me, I would report his non-compliance with reporting conditions. I would also report the changed conditions in the home to DHHS. There is now a convicted pedophile as sole parent, which means they might have a monitoring role. You are never going to regret doing everything you can to protect children.
It could also be that breaking his reporting conditions is a serious matter (one would think it would be). I'm wondering if that would put him back in custody? Or serious legal hot water?
This makes me think you should have a chat with a good lawyer. It's possible that reporting him (police and DHHS) may open a door to a foster care arrangement. You won't know unless you ask. But, if you go down this path, this man is always going to be in your life. Think long and hard about that.
I'm really sorry that you're in this situation. Hang in there. Post back any time.
Kind thoughts to you
Let me start off by saying, I'm not a big fan of the Derryn Hinch "name and shame" approach to this type of problem. To my mind, it only drives repeat offenders underground and may turn a reformed offender to desperate measures.
"The school should and needs to know of his convictions,
Outside the law, this is vigilante mob rule. It will only identify and hurt the child you are trying to protect.
"I believe that your brother-in-law will always be a risk to children. I don't think his perverse desires will ever change and it's just a matter of time until he reoffends, if he hasn't already."
What do you base this on? You don't even know the nature of the original conviction. Some people can, and do change.
By all means do what you think is best for your family. However in your zeal, remember that this child has already lost one parent.
Depending on the nature of the offense, this man may, or may not be on a government register. If you are concerned, go and have a talk to the police, not the school or neighbors.
Hi Mr Paul
Thanks for your question, it's a good one.
Mr E has told us that the man is a "convicted child molester". My understanding is that there is now consensus that pedophillia is a distinct sexual orientation. There is no cure. There are many studies and articles published to support what I am saying. I offer Harvard University Health (July 2010) as one reputable example.
There is, of course treatment, to help offenders learn not to act on their urges. But we do not know if Mr E's brother-in-law has had, or is, currently getting treatment.
Even if he is getting treatment, recidivism rates of child sexual offenders are high. An extensive and respected German study published in the Journal of Experimental Criminology in 2005, found those offenders who receive treatment are 37 per cent less likely to reoffend.
Those are not odds that I would accept when it comes to my children's safety.
I think I was very clear in my first post, the focus of my response was on protecting children.
Kind thoughts to you