Wedding Woes

Cut off contact. It's up to you regarding a whisper network.

Dear Prudence,

We are relatively new to our town and working on making friends. Our son has made friends with a very sweet boy at school whose parents invited us over for lunch while the kids had a play date. During the lunch, as we are connecting on things we have in common, it comes out that my husband (we can call him John) and the friend’s dad (let’s call him Thomas), went to the same small college, but Thomas graduated more than 18 years before John. My husband says, “you must know our most infamous alum!” and names a guy that had graduated around the same time as Thomas, and Thomas says, “actually, that is me!” In my husband’s defense, Thomas goes by a nickname and has a very common last name; minus his middle name, you wouldn’t actually connect him with his VERY famous family and name. In any case, Thomas is exceptionally well-known: He had a very famous rape trial many years ago where he was found not guilty.

I happen to work on issues related to sexual assault for my career and know a bunch about his trial, which was pre-rape shield laws (so they put the victim on trial), and they excluded evidence of multiple other rape claims on a technicality that would not hold up today. I did a little googling and found that Thomas had been accused of sexual assault again later in life, and his wife defended him by saying, “these cockroaches will never die.” Although the encounter was very awkward (my husband made an excuse to leave as soon as he realized who Thomas was), we have already been invited to other things with this couple and will inevitably be around these people on the regular. I do not believe in holding a child accountable for the crimes of their parents, but I am wondering if I have a moral obligation to share this information with anyone else? I would not want a female-identified babysitter, nanny, or any other young woman to be around this man. I am horrified that a woman would call victims of assault “cockroaches,” especially when I spend much of my day trying to teach people why false accusations of rape, assault, and sexual harassment are not a thing and why. What do we do here? Cut off contact? Limit contact? Warn other parents? I don’t want kids to feel ostracized because of their parents and at the same time, I feel gross being around them and making small talk.

— Morally Conflicted Mom

Re: Cut off contact. It's up to you regarding a whisper network.

  • As someone who dealt with someone falsely accused of sexual assault I can assure you that while rare, it surely is a thing.  Please understand that while rare it is still statistically possible. 

    Let the kids stay friends at school and do not befriend the parents.  
  • Let the kids stay friends but that doesn’t mean you have to be. 
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Everyone else can google, just like you.  Let the kids be friends and limit your contact with them as much/little as you want.
  • ei34ei34 member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Kids can be friends without the parents being friends.
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