Joint custody with felon pedophile

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by FTN, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. FTN

    FTN New Member

    I hope someone out there has experience with the joint-custody melodrama. Allow me to introduce the other players in this fiasco.

    Brett: Convicted felon, wife beater, drug user, in and out of various rehabs, can't hold a job, child molestor, etc.
    Liz: The aboves newest fiance. Second one in a year.
    Riley: The fiance's 14 year old in and out of juvenille son.

    We woke up yesterday morning with difficult child saying her "father" would be here in 45 minutes. This was never agreed upon and it was our weekend. We explained to difficult child why she wouldn't be going who then proceeded to rage all over the house. Their first email is from about 9:30 a.m. right after the incident. The bold email is our response. We haven't replied back, but forwarded to the lawyer for another incident of them violating the parenting plan.


    I asked you last Sunday if it was ok if Sammy could come over for Riley's birthday, I thought you said it was all right. I said we would pick her up and drop her off. Is this not ok now? We would like to pick her up in about 30 minutes as we have to pick up my nieces as well.


    As we discussed February 10th, I said Samantha could attend the birthday. This was based on the condition that you would email me the times she would be picked up and returned as you said you would. This didn't happen. Thusly, I concluded that the plans were no longer in effect.

    As the past emails and lawyers have clearly stated, a minimum of 24 hours to changes to any plans is required.

    Please do not ask questions about shared custody in front of Samantha as was done last Sunday. I find this irresponsible and inappropriate. We are supposed to communicate through email, not in front of Samantha or through her.

    Our attorney has said that we are due make up visitation for all of the 48 hours visits we were due during the investigation. Paid visits were 2 hours, so by our calculation we are due 3 months of make up visits. There was no harm done with me asking if Sam if she could come to Riley's birthday in front of her, we were not asking for anything out of line. If you want to get the lawyers involved again that is fine but we would think we can work this out as adults. Whatever your problem is you need to get over it. If you want to go back to court to have make up visitations, determined by the courts let us know and we will contact our attorney however, in the mean time there is no restraining order and we will see Sam every other weekend and she is old enough to understand that you are the one being difficult.

    Also remember we let you keep Sam the weekend of her birthday to be helpful to you as you all ready had the party planned we could have very well said no the "parenting plan" said it is Brett's year to spend Sam's birthday with her.

    I have cc'd our attorney so she has a heads up if you wish to be difficult and have the courts decide the make visitation schedule. Which also if that needs to be done we will also be taking steps to have the parenting plan revised at that time to have more visitation and day to day decision if Samantha's activities.

    Brett and Liz
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    In hindsight of my own contentious relationship with my daughter's father (who had custody most of her life) and the grief and expense we all went to, it would have behooved us both to have been a little more flexible at times.

    in my humble opinion, and with the gift of hindsight, legally you have every right to withhold visitation. In view of it successfully pitting your daughter against you with her mom (or is it her dad?), you will probably win the battle and lose the war. It wouldn't have killed her or you to allow her to go a few hours to a birthday party, so long as everyone understood that she's not to dilly dally with Brett. There were going to be other kids in the car, and she could have been told to sit in the back seat. Or you could have driven her yourself. Letting her go would have gone a long way towards repairing relationships. After all, they let her stay on their weekend when you had plans.

    It's a little difficult to determine who Liz and Brett are to you and difficult child. Is Liz her stepmom and Brett her father? Is Liz your ex and difficult child's mom, Riley being her brother/half brother? If Brett is no relation to anyone, then difficult child needs a good talking to about being sensible enough to not put herself in any compromising positions with him or Riley. If Brett's her dad, and really were up to something, that type usually is on their best behavior when you say "We're watching you, don't even try." It gives them a wonderful ally in the child who isn't harmed.

    With joint custody, you run the risk that she will go live with mom. Being inflexible is probably not going to keep her where you want her.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I am certain I don't know all the history here.

    My difficult child 1's bio mom was much like Brett. difficult child 1 is 19 now, and bio still doesn't have a drivers license (she lost it when he was tiny). She's a felon, been incarcerated, had her other kids removed from her repeatedly, was an alcoholic in various stages of sobriety (or not). However, the court did not consider that enough to remove her from the picture, as I'm assuming is the case with you and yours.

    In that sense, however, the best thing we could do for the limited amount of time biomom actually tried to be in difficult child 1's life was to not alienate difficult child. That person, with all their flaws, was his mother, and he loved her, tho it was twisted. To berate her to him and keep him from things such as siblings birthdays would have simply made him angrier at us. Luckily for us, her interest in him was very short lived and she disappeared on her own.

    However, I'd encourage you to do the same. Grit your teeth, smile, and let your difficult child go to the birthday party. Send an email simply stating that the parenting plan was violated AGAIN and keep a log.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm stunned that this man has custody of his child AT ALL. Was he a convicted child molester? Does the court know this? Is he allowed to see the kids without supervision?
    I don't know all the facts here, but I'd NEVER allow my child to see anyone, even a biological father, who was a child molester. I'd fight that in court like all hell. This child is in danger being with him unless somebody safe is overseeing any visits she has. I'm amazed that your SO's lawyer isn't urging her to fight for soul custody and supervised visitation only.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I always look at visitation and custody as what is in the best interest of the child.

    For some reason the court has deemed this man allowable to see his child.

    If there was a birthday party you were aware of, let the child go if they wish to particpate. Even if the other adults are irresponsible with the plans and emails that are due. It seems in the best interest of the child to have attended the birthday party. I know things are not always as they seem, so I am just going on what I have read here.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm sorry that the DA decided to not prosecute because there wasn't enough evidence and I do truly understand your fears. I will say there is no way I would let her be in a car alone with her fathr for even 5 minutes. Any visitation would be with me taking and picking her up. Is there any way you can at least insist that he not be allowed to ever be alone with her, even if the supervision is whatever girl friend he has at that time?

    I would have let her go to the birthday party. You knew it was going to happen even if you didn't know the exact day and time. I would have insisted that I take her and pick her up that she come back immediately after the party ended.

    This is one of those situations where you and her mother lose. She's going to remember that it was said she could go to the party (even if the response was something as innocuous as "we'll see," she'll take it as a yes) and then wasn't allowed to go by you. She doesn't understand custody agreements and the like. I'm guessing she doesn't yet know her sisters accused their father of abusing them. She knows she loves her father and nothing else matters at this time. She won't understand the issues and fears for a long, long time.

    You are truly in a tough spot. As hard as it is, it is up to your SO and her ex to work out the custody issues. If you get in the middle, you're never going to have a chance at a relationship with this girl. It is just going to make things harder for all of you in the long run.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I get that Brett is a jerk. I get that Liz is the new girlfriend and maybe not aware of Brett's past. It was not proved in a court of law that he was a molester.

    In the mean time - Brett sounds like he's making a 2nd attempt this year at a family life with what sounds to me like a fairly down to earth woman. She may not be the brightest bulb in the carton for not recognizing the signs of an abusive man, and it sounds like with her own son Riley (age14) she has her hands full with him, but your opinion of Brett's life doesn't count here. It counted in court, it counts in therapy but I don't think you ever got your insurance straightened out to get the girls the needed therapy.

    I'm not being mean - but if you really believed the girls about being molested, and the court saw it different I would have RUN SCREAMING to mental health to have a therapist listen to my girls. Then if anything came out in therapy a licensed professional can make a report based on his/her findings. What the law will see at this point is there was an investigation and there was no evidence to prove he did what the girls said - and you don't think it's so serious as to seek further counseling - so you come out as difficult parents - believe me I've seen this happen.

    Kids see things differently than we do- all Sam knows is that her potential 1/2 brother was having a PARTY and she didn't get to go because the grown ups were hung up on emails and times. If it had really been important for anyone that Sam be happy - the adults in your camp could have sent an email to Brett and Liz and said "Hey - are you still doing this thing with Sam? We never got together on a time or This would be convenient for us?" Just not doing anything and hoping the other side messes up isn't the best plan. It just adds fuel to the fire. And I'm not saying that you should be buddies - but think of how SAM must have looked at this - was there a reason someone in your house couldn't have followed up for her sake? If you get tired of being the mature parents the start a journal and write down each time YOU have had to step in and be the bigger party. When you've had enough take THAT evidence to court.

    I'm too - mystified why there isn't at least a guardian with him at all times to see his kids. Can you elaborate?

    Brett has moved on, Liz has moved in, Riley is a part of that, and Your house is apparently happy with each other...their house is (happy with each other) - so I don't get what the big deal is on sharing time?

    If there are valid reasons for keeping her from Liz and Brett and Riley - then go back to court and take it up with a judge - I have to give it to Liz on that point - she made sense...she said "The court said this, and this and this and you are doing your own thing so we'll go back to court." But she stated a fact, and didn't sound threatening.

    Like Witz said - you're going to win the battle but loose the war. Sorry - I think Sam is the one that lost out in this all the way around - and Riley too - he's just a kid after all with a lot of problems apparently - It may have meant a lot for him to show off his 'sister'.

    Facts of life that no one likes in blended families.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's a bit late now, and you are probably concerned that if you seem to be flexible now, he will take that and run with it, abusing the flexibility and bending the rules to breaking point. You should be able to manage that, however, by being clear and specific. You COULD have said, "Although you didn't abide by the legally set out rules to give us x amount of notice and specific details in sufficient time, we will allow Sam to go; I don't want her or Riley penalised by your inefficiency. Please try to be more careful next time, to avoid any confusion or distress to the kids."

    20:20 hindsight can tell us this. It's done now, and I think even you can see that it wasn't a great success. It makes you seem like the ogre to Sam, and if he says to the courts that you are being nitpickingly difficult, then you have given him ammunition to use against you (not a good thing). He can also use it to try to claim that the accusations of child abuse were your way of continually throwing a spanner in the works, and this would damage your credibility in the eyes of the courts. NOT a good thing at all.

    At the same time - you want to keep her safe. I think you need to be doing what you can to get her into therapy, and also to arm her against any possible abuse. A serious pedophile uses silence, secrecy and threats to gain control over his victims. It is possible to arm a child against this, to protect him/her with a better understanding of what is appropriate and what they can do to stop any unwanted attentions.

    For now - don't think legal, think practical. And think Sammy. You want her to feel safe, you want her needs met as a prime objective.

    And for those who haven't got it - FTN is female, ex-wife of Brett (currently shacked up with the newest fiancee). FTN's partner is also female (described as a wonderful woman). All this tells me that there is no reason for FTN to be mean to Brett out of jealousy, or pettiness borne of rejection. FTN, you have moved on, well and truly. You are in a happy relationship (which has to be an improvement, from what you indicate!).

    But some court judges may not see it that way - prejudices abound. You really do need to dot your i's and cross your t's when it comes to NOT being seen to be 'difficult' with Brett.

    If you are still really concerned for the safety of your kids where Brett is concerned, then keep working to make them safer. Let them know they have been heard and believed, and there are ways for them to keep themselves safer. Empowering them could be most important for their healing.

    And another thought - if you make yourself a bit more flexible with Brett over the access, don't kick against him, he may lose interest if he feels he's no longer getting at you, annoying you as much as he'd probably like to. Especially if the girls are empowered to feel safe, to know that if he puts a foot wrong he will be reported. If they are in counselling and have a rapport with the counsellor, he will not be able to make any 'secrets' with the girls that would be secret from the counsellor; not if the counsellor can arm them first.

    It can be done.

  9. FTN

    FTN New Member

    Actually, I'm one of the few (only?) males on this forum. The two PCs and difficult child listed are SO's. Only difficult child is from brett. He has two DV convictions that I'm aware of on top of the three DUI's. Just a real winner all around. He wasn't convicted of molesting the two easy child's as the DA said there wasn't enough evidence. It never went to court.

    We fear we're already being too flexible. The agreed upon plan was for him to arrive at 7 p.m. Friday evening at the end of cul-de-sac. Roughly 100 feet from the house. Well, he showed up unannounced four hours earlier than expected. SO and easy child's started freaking out obviously. While difficult child was thrilled to see her felon, child molester father. They violated the rules the very first time. Then when we went to pick her up, they again violated the rules by not only communicating with us but also in front of difficult child. Then there was the whole birthday incident.

    We forwarded our lawyer the recent exchange. He showed the violations to their attorney telling them they need to start following the rules to the T. Their (the evil people) most recent email to us was of a much more civil tone.

    Thanks to all the responses as usual.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    My apologies for unwittingly being chauvinistic, in my attempts to clarify. We have had another couple join here, in the situation I described - sorry, thought it was you. Oops. Apologies to all.

    If the two easy child's aren't Brett's, why is he given access? I can understand their consternation at his unexpected arrival.

    When I mentioned flexibility, there are ways and there are ways. I'm not saying, "go along with it," especially if he would use it as a wedge to widen the cracks even more, to allow himself far too much latitude. More in line with making it clear each time when he does something wrong, that you've noted it and have reported it, asking him to not do it again - but to not punish difficult child, because the last thing you want is for her to see you as the ogres and Brett as the much-maligned good guy.

    difficult child needs to see you as firm, consistent but also loving and flexible. This doesn't mean you need to be a pushover - but seriously consider concessions, if it will be in difficult child's interests, while making it clear that each time this IS a concession and should not be expected to be the norm.

    Brett sounds like he's going to walk all over the rules anyway.

    My concern for difficult child mainly is - if she only sees Brett as fun, and you as the party pooper, she will adopt his methods and hero-worship him. But if SHE can be inconvenienced by him when you have clearly bent over backwards to accommodate a special request such as this birthday party, then no matter how difficult child may rant at you over the unfairness of fate, she has more chance of knowing at some level that it wasn't your fault.

    If you remember "Mrs Doubtfire" there is a point made very early in the movie, where the couple are arguing - the mother is claiming that because he breaks the rules and always does the fun stuff, while she has to clean up his mess, she is made to seem like the policeman to her kids, while he is always the fun-loving dad. You run the risk of being seen to be the prison warder. I strongly recommend some sort of counselling, if only to help you find ways in which to positively share good times with difficult child, so she can see you in other positive ways and not just as someone blocking her access to her father. If you are always reliable for her, if you do things like take her to play tennis or squash (substitute something more suitable if you need to) and you promise to do it at a certain time and YOU DO, then she will work it out for herself. Might take some time, but at least you would be sowing the seeds.

    It's not easy being a step-dad, even with PCs. A difficult child just makes the job a great deal harder.

  11. FTN

    FTN New Member

    He doesn't have access to the PCs. I took them to an indoor gun range about three months ago. Now easy child #1 drew his name on the silhouette and put it on her door. Can you blame her?

    difficult child suffered from abuse from her father for the first roughly 6 years of her life. She either excuses it or blocks it out. He wouldn't show up at all on his weekends, or if he did, it would usually just be for a few hours. Then the times when he did have her, he'd be too occupied with the other women he'd bring over. Right when the older two came forward, he summarily got engaged. And after reading the logs from the supervised visits, his newest fiance is the one wanting difficult child inclusion.

    SO just wants to shield difficult child from all things bad even if she is made out to be the bad guy by not countering what brett tells difficult child about the situation. She thinks its part of being a good mother.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, your SO is remiss as a parent by allowing her ex to have any access to these kids. Court or not, I'd fight to keep this dangerous man away from the difficult child. To me, this is WAY more important than the rules of visitation. I think it's alarming that SO even ALLOWS visitation. I'd consider crossing state lines to keep this man out of all the kids lives. Not everyone who has been sexually abused turns a blind eye to it with their own children. I know a lot of women who had this issue and I work at a home for domestically abused women and their kids. I have to wonder about your SO. It's not about whose the bad guy. It's about HIM and getting him away from the kids.
    in my opinion although I understand why daughter would put a picture of her molester dad on her door as a target, I would NOT allow it. She is probably furious at him and should go to therapy to talk about it, but NOT think about shooting him.
    in my opinion, this is a mess. I'm sorry you've involved in it--it's amazing you don't walk away. Since SO isn't willing to face the facts, nothing will get fixed. Sorry, I have no tolerance for knowingly allowing kids to be around child molesters. They do NOT change, and they are very sneaky about when/how/where they abuse. Your SO needs a lot of help. I hope she realizes this. She's not a kid and it's time for her to grow up and protect her children. Your SO is hardly protecting her daughter from all things bad. She's sending her to it. JMO
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member


    sounds like you have your hands full and are a really good person and must love them all very much to be on this site looking for help and support.

    i'm sorry i'm so late to this but it confused me intially wanted to see where it was going first.

    i'd have to agree with marg as far as starting some type of relationship with difficult child so that she isnt' as tempted to go with abusive/molestor dad. its typical of children when abused want to be with their abuser. sort of like a dog excuse the reference made but you kick them and they come back tail between their legs. i speak from experience on this one. if you two can begin some type of bonding and concentrate on that for now that may solve the dilemna of difficult child wanting to go. you have alot more power than you realize in the situation.

    as far as this guy is concerned. i know me as a mom and i wouldn't let difficult child go at all. i don't care if she hated me for the rest of her life and kicked and screamed bottom line kid wouldn't go.

    also so that you know that no one here is judging you. it's a sensitive subject so your going to get very emotion filled responses.

    maybe you two could sit down quietly with-o any kids surrounding and discuss a plan on how to keep her (difficult child) from going with good old dad.

    it is hands down a difficult situation, it is also very hard as a parent regardless of anything else to realize the person in which you had a child with sexually molested your child. yet i think regardless of what the da did or did not do at this point it is imperative that this difficult child be kept from this man at all costs. it will only bring her more pain and hurt and truly change the woman she will become someday.

    good luck to you and i mean that it is one rough rough situation.

    keep us posted though let us know how it's going if you've had any progress.

    Jen :)
  14. Jena

    Jena New Member

    one more thing i was thinking. you stated that he violated the order by showing up hours early at house and to door as opposed to 100 ft. from door. bottom line no conversations i'd call cops each and everytime it was violated. you want a record and papertrail of this stuff. id' also stop the emails immediately. they can be tampered with and nothing good can come from them. go to kmart if you have one where you live it is a small device tape recorder that can be hooked up to phone. hook it up when speaking with him everytime with-o fail. it's admissable in court and i'm sure he'll lunge verbally rather than email which can be well thought out.
  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't know, I'm torn. You're in a tough spot, for sure. However, if the courts didn't find enough evidence to convict and you withhold visitation, based on "unfounded charges", well...that's what the family law judge will see, too. You made an allegation, it didn't hold up in court, and you're continuing to make issue of it. Eventually your child will end up back with that man permanently. Just the way it works - they don't give custody to the parent that keeps the child from the other parent. I know there's more to the story. You know there's more to the story. But the court can't hear the "more to the story" because its unfounded. May not be fair, but is the way they'll see it.

    Also, for whatever reason, if difficult child is refusing to acknowledge there's ever been a problem, keeping difficult child from dad may just push difficult child TO dad. Twisted, I know, but that needs some serious help from a professional. Family counseling, too, so difficult child understands you have safety in mind, not just retaliation.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It is such a bad place to be stuck. Unfortunately, you're not alone in it. Just hope Brett's SO takes a hike like the rest and the drive to see difficult child goes away.

    Many hugs to you all.
  16. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    If the courts say that the father is allowed visitation, there isn't much the mother can do. I think saying that mom is sending the child into harm as if she's deliberately not protecting the child is rather harsh.

    A story about a former co-worker of mine. Her son-in-law was charged with raping his 16 year old niece. He said it was consensual. While the charges were pending and court dates were scheduled, he was allowed supervised visitation with his daughter. Niece changed her story and said it was consensual and prosecutor had no further evidence to proceed so the charges were dropped. Even though mom spent well over $30,000 in legal fees, dad's visitation - joint custody, in fact - was reinstated.

    If mom refuses to allow dad visitation she will be charged with contempt of court and could risk losing her daughter permanently to this man.

    It's a no win situation.

    Bottom line is that this man is difficult child's father and she loves him. However, kids are not stupid and she will see him for who he is. Further, he showed little interest in difficult child before his current love-interest. Probably, he will lose interest again. Right now, he's all about winning. Once he thinks he's won, he'll grow bored of it.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The situation stinks. It is really hard to let your child go visit someone you KNOW molested other children (and maybe that child?). I think you need a good therapist to work on this issue with difficult child and see if he is abusing her. Just because he has a woman in his life does NOT mean he is not abusing her.

    If you withhold visitation you are going to lose custody eventually. Then the child will really live in Hades. I think you need to figure out a way to handle him calmly, to document every time he violates the agreement, and to let difficult child know you are trying to do what is best for her.

    Make sure that ALL of you get therapy, and medications if/when appropriate. My heart goes out to you.

  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, what a mess! Folks, I do think we need to go easy on SO, she really is stuck in a hard place. As others have pointed out, if the court system says he's not guilty, SO cannot LEGALLY block is access and if she tries to, risks handing custody right to the man she wants out of the picture.

    If calling the cops every time he breaks the rules will help, then do it. But I would be doing the utmost to show difficult child that you and SO are following the rules in the spirit as well as in the letter, and not being nitpicky in any way (ie don't give her any edge to argue from).

    I'm glad the PCs have no contact with him. They are old enough anyway, to have their own say. But they need to feel empowered, not threatened by him. Their negative experience with him needs to be turned into strength, not ongoing fear.

    A bloke who molests is far more likely to molest step-children, than his own flesh and blood. difficult child is maybe safer than the PCs were. I would still be watching her like a hawk, however, and helping her know what is inappropriate, and that there are no such things as secrets you can't tell your counsellor or doctor.

    All this of course would me making my husband nervous in the extreme, if he were in your shoes. He's often expressed concern that it is so easy for a man to be accused, especially if a child works out that the accusation can give them power, that he bends over backwards to avoid ever being in a situation where such an accusation could be made. In other words, he was reluctant to change our kids' nappies if there was nobody else around as witness, he would send me to bathe the girls once they were past infancy, he has always encouraged modesty in the kids (fat lot of good it has done with easy child 2/difficult child 2!).

    On the topic of a mother putting her child in danger - sometimes you have no choice, when the courts order it. We all SAY, "I would never send my child to him, no matter what the courts tell me," but a mother who takes her kids and runs WILL lose the kids to him, when they are found. And you don't even have to run - if he can successfully claim you have fabricated the accusations and are putting the kids up to it, you can lose custody to him.
    Two friends of mine have been in this situation. One knew her husband was a sex offender, he had been on a rape charge when she met him. At that time he had told her that he was innocent, and she went to court with him as a character witness. He was acquitted. He later told her he had done it. She suspected he might be abusing their daughter but there was nothing concrete. The visitation stopped when the kids themselves told their father they would refuse to go. Every time the daughter came back from a visit, she had a migraine.
    Years later, the son told his mother of inappropriate touching from his father. But at that time the mother felt she had no choice. She had no proof, only suspicions. She had been a battered wife, was still cowed by her ex who was living with another woman and said that if she made any fuss or got "difficult" she would lose the kids permanently to him and his new partner.
    The son went back as an adult to visit his father (and lay some ghosts). He came home after what he described as a friendly visit, but all the more convinced that the abuse was not merely a distorted memory. Little things, words exchanged, his father's obvious interest (unhealthy) in the son's anatomy - but at least as a man himself, the son felt safe and in control, he was able to deflect the interest and cope for the short time he was visiting.

    Another friend - her second husband had been molesting her daughter (from her first marriage) and told the daughter that her mother knew and was OK with it. With hindsight, the man had married to get access to the child. Once the child said it had to stop, and told her mother, the marriage was over from HIS point of view. He actually 'turned cold' some months before the daughter actually told her mother.
    I was describing this case (no names of course) to my brother and two sisters over the weekend (we were talking child abuse in general) and my brother was insistent - "any woman whose child is being molested - she HAS to know about it, how could she not?" He was very black-and-white about it. But I knew all parties involved, I understood not only how she didn't know, but how the ******* had made sure his secrets were being kept. People involved get manipulated.

    That's why I've really been pressuring you, to do your utmost to get difficult child into counselling - with you and SO, if necessary, to help build YOU all up as your own strong family unit. If my friend had done this with herself and her daughter, the child would have been empowered much sooner to stop the abuse. Of course, she didn't see the need at the time because everything seemed rosy. And once he was gone - it took a while for her to realise that they needed counselling, because she felt that with him gone, the problem was gone too. But the fallout was not gone.

    difficult child may be perfectly safe from her father. But it never hurts to 'pedophile-proof' your kids. She may not be so safe from his friends.

    And if by chance at some later stage someone accuses YOU, then you can point to the fact that you organised for her to have counselling, you would not have done that if you were molesting the child, you would have done your utmost to keep it all secret. Openness and honesty is sometimes the best defence.

    Give SO and your kids a hug, a big one every day. And make sure you get a good hug too. You all need it.

  19. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    Custody and visitation is a sticky issue because of court orders. been there done that. If you believe difficult child is in danger due to Brett's drinking(ie he shows up to get her drunk), then you can refuse that visitation, and write a letter to the court explaining he was drunk and you feared for difficult child's safety. Unfortunately you cannot keep difficult child from him on the allegations.(I know it stinks).

    If Brett violates any court rule regarding visitation, document it. Keep very detailed records of when and how he violated the order. When you have enough to prove a pattern, go back to court to modify or repeal his visitation. In the mean time you and SO need to follow the order exactly and be the "bigger" people. A little flexibility will go a long way to showing a judge who is the real stinker in this situation. in my humble opinion.(ie give him enough rope to "hang himself".)

    I agree with the others to get all members of the family into counsiling to deal with the abuse. The best "revenge" is to not let him or his actions get the best of any member of the family.(I know that is easier said then done)

    I am sorry you are going through this, but admire the fact that you are trying to help SO and her girls. Very good job!
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I work at a home for domestically abused women and kids. Most counties have one nearby. The counselor who works with sexually abused kids takes up for the family in court against the child abusers. It really doesn't sound like SO has done much to help her children over the abuse nor allowed them to talk about it in a safe, therapeutic setting. If they did continue saying he sexually abused them, the court would take it more seriously, even if they dismissed it once. I know from first hand experience. But SO has to be willing to make the effort. I'd be terrified that this man would sexually abuse the child again. Sadly, as the counselor I work with says, these kids who are abused DO love the abusive parent--FIERCELY. The sad, sick intimacy between father/daughter/son is a sad bond and the only way some kids understand love. I don't want to sound harsh--really--but the only way to keep this child safe is to fight to help her (and the whole family) and to keep her away from this man, whether or not she loves him. A new wife, a stepchild, nothing can really stop him from abusing her if he wants to and if she's afraid he won't love her if she doesn't--or if he threatens her. Kids sometimes DO block out the sexual abuse only to have it come back in their behavior and/or in flashbacks. in my opinion the only way to protect this child is to get her into counseling and have that person, hopefully a knowledgeable advocate, validate what happened in court. This man should not be around any children. It is rare that child predators can ever be cured. This is a hot button issue for me because my kids WERE abused and there is no way I'd allow them near the abuser, no matter what court decided. I'd move across the country first. However, my kids had intensive therapy and their abuser, an older child who we adopted, was found guilty of sexual assault against a minor. But if we'd just let it go and not taken the kids for serious help, he probably would have gotten off too. That would have sent a terrible message to my younger kids, whom he abused. My two kids who suffered from him are not badly behaved kids and seem happy (ages 11 and 14 now) and their counselor thinks the proactive help is the reason why. They got to see that the good guys win and that we care enough to take their side. And trust me, it was not easy to believe that a thirteen year old can be a serious child predator, nor was it easy to believe this boy, who we loved, was actually sick and dangerous and could not live with us or see us again--ever. It's painful to go through counseling, but it's dangerous to ignore sexual abuse. My guess is that difficult child is the way she is because of that abuse. While not all kids turn into difficult child's, it's very common...and very sad. JMO