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Wedding Woes

Family or not, protect kids from predators.

Dear Prudence,

Recently, after a few drinks, my mother confessed to me that my stepbrother years ago had been arrested for downloading child pornography and spent three months in jail for it. Apparently she and her husband (my stepbrother’s father) only recently found out when my stepbrother was asked to leave a family function by someone who knew about it. She promised both of them to never tell a soul and has felt burdened ever since. She blames herself for breaking the promise and feels guilty for telling me. But I was able to persuade her to tell my brother about this because he has children who have met my stepbrother. In some ways this revelation has brought my mother and me closer, because I’m proud of her for telling us. But I want to let the rest of our stepsiblings (all adults with children) know, since I think they have the right to decide for themselves how to deal with this information. I think my mother is afraid her husband will be extremely upset if she pushes the issue, and she doesn’t want to split the family. I now feel the burden has been passed on to me. I avoid going to family gatherings because I worry about my stepbrother being there, and I feel terrible for keeping this information from my other stepsiblings. Don’t they have the right to know? How can I support my mother and assure her that I’m on her side while still convincing her to inform the others?

—Creeped Out and Concerned


Re: Family or not, protect kids from predators.

  • I think you need to sit down with Mom and Stepfather and explain that this information needs to be shared with the immediate family who have children. You need to let parents protect their kids and they can’t do that if they aren’t aware there is a problem. If they’re not willing to do anything you need to. Talk to your Mom/SD first and explain why your siblings need to know now. But if they won’t share it, you need to be clear that you will be telling them.
    ei34short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    My first thought: find his records.   Make up a white lie and say that you were bored and searching the areas of known sex offenders and came across step-brother so you looked up his case.

    Leave mom out of it other than the fact that she CLEARLY knows that her H is an asshole for putting his son ahead of the safety of the rest of the family.

    Then I'd point blank ask my stepfather: "Did you know about this?  Why didn't you tell the rest of us who have CHILDREN??" 

    This is exactly what I was thinking.  Sure, the SF and SB will suspect it was the mother who told the LW, but it's still a plausible story.

    Then again, I'd also be annoyed that my mother promised them not to tell anybody in the first place.  People with children he might regularly come in contact with should know. 

    I mean, what if this guy molests one of their grandchildren?  Would they still think it's a fine and dandy idea to keep this guy's criminal record hush-hush?  Of course not.  So why are they even risking it, knowing his past proclivities.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    My first thought: find his records.   Make up a white lie and say that you were bored and searching the areas of known sex offenders and came across step-brother so you looked up his case.

    Leave mom out of it other than the fact that she CLEARLY knows that her H is an asshole for putting his son ahead of the safety of the rest of the family.

    Then I'd point blank ask my stepfather: "Did you know about this?  Why didn't you tell the rest of us who have CHILDREN??" 

    This is exactly what I was thinking.  Sure, the SF and SB will suspect it was the mother who told the LW, but it's still a plausible story.

    Then again, I'd also be annoyed that my mother promised them not to tell anybody in the first place.  People with children he might regularly come in contact with should know. 

    I mean, what if this guy molests one of their grandchildren?  Would they still think it's a fine and dandy idea to keep this guy's criminal record hush-hush?  Of course not.  So why are they even risking it, knowing his past proclivities.

    Exactly.   Mom felt obligated to her H which I understand on paper but not for THIS. 

    Quite frankly at this point my biggest gripe would then turn to, "SF you knew this and asked my mom NOT to tell me?"  Then he wouldn't be welcome in my home either.   It would probably either break my relationship with my mom or her relationship with her H but my children's safety comes first.   Full stop.   And if SF's pride is too great to see that then fuck him and anyone else who defends a pedophile. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • Sigh. Family "secrets" like this are why predators get away with it. This isn't a family secret. It's a crime. The dude served time. The LW should tell everyone who might be in contact with the stepbrother that he is a pedophile. There is no secret here, only a crime waiting to happen.
    mrsconn23banana468
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