TIM0THY

Please help: I found out today that my 13-year-old son has been sexually abusing his 7-year-old sister

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This came to light when my wife asked him if he had been able to renew his temple recommend after church and he told her that he hadn't. She then asked him why he hadn't and he explained to he that he had confessed to our bishop that he had been molesting our 7-year-old daughter.  My wife revealed this information to me later this evening. 

This has been devastating. I feel like a failure as a father for failing to protect my daughter and for failing to teach my son how to control his urges. I'm also unbelievably angry at my son right now. I'm also confused as to why our bishop didn't see the need to inform us of what our son told him in the temple recommend interview. 

On top of these concerns I'm worried about what this will do to my marriage. I believe that I have a legal and social obligation to report my son to the authorities. But at the merest hint of this my wife went into hyper-protective mode- she's convinced that we can handle this on our own and that we have no obligation to inform anyone. She then proceeded to tell me about how she endured this kind of abuse at the hands of cousins and even her own brother, and since both she and her brother have "turned out fine" our children will as well. I remain unconvinced of this and I'm feeling torn between loyalty to my wife and fulfilling my obligation to society and to my daughter to report my son to the authorities as a sexual predator. My wife's interim solution is to keep my son under constant surveillance. Clearly this is not a long-term solution, and while she admits as much this does nothing to assuage my fear that my daughter and he sisters will not suffer additional abuse at the hands of our son.

So I've come here to see if anyone can help me sort through this mess. What are my legal obligations in this situation? What repercussions will I potentially face if choose not to report my son? How do I balance my legal responsibilities with my responsibilities to my wife and my son?

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Timothy, first off—if I could give you a bear hug, I would.  You’re in a unique form of hell that not many parents ever have to go through. 

Second—I am a state attorney representing DCFS in my jurisdiction.  I don’t know the law in your jurisdiction and won’t presume to give you legal advice about whatever mandatory reporting may or may not apply.  (Also:  yay for anonymous internet forums, amirite?  Keeps things much less complicated for both of us if I don’t know where you live.)  I will say, though, having sat in on numerous team meetings with perpetrators, survivors, therapists, psychologists, and judges; that neither you nor your wife are in ANY WAY prepared to help either your son or your daughter get through this on your own.  You guys are 100% out of your depth, no matter what experiences your wife remembers having gone through.  Also, statistically speaking, sex offenders almost never stop at one victim.  I hate to be so blunt, but the chances are well over 80% that your son either has already molested others in addition to your daughter—or he’s going to.  (That doesn’t make him an irredeemably bad kid or mean that you’ve failed as a parent; it’s just the nature of his psychosis.). The state needs to be involved here.    You should also be aware that if the state eventually does find out about this, they’re going to be asking some hard questions about why you didn’t make a report sooner; and that may jeopardize your custody over *all* of your children.

Third—do NOT talk to your daughter about this.  She needs to be interviewed by a trained investigator/therapist; and unskilled interviewers can do more harm than good from both a psychological and forensic standpoint.  Once the report has been made, law enforcement will probably want to take her to a Children’s Justice Center for her interview.  It will be a comfortable, home-like environment  with toys and soft chairs; and she will probably be allowed to have a support person with her during the interview so long as the support person doesn’t interfere with the interview.  

Fourth—your son will probably have to leave the home almost immediately once the report has been made.  They won’t put him in detention if they can avoid it; so start thinking of extended family members he can stay with who don’t have small children in the home.  Odds are that at some point your son will wind up in a group home-type environment for a lengthy period of time, once the full set of psychological evaluations has been completed.  He’s got a long road ahead.  It’s going to be natural to want to recoil in horror from him because of what he’s done to your little girl; but you need to know that if you do that, you’ll lose him, emotionally.  There’s a way for him to come back and be a fully productive, contributing, safe member of society—but without the support of you and your wife, that way gets a lot harder.   Similarly, your little girl needs to know that the changes your family is about to go through aren’t her fault; and you need to avoid the trap of having her needs being overshadowed by her brother’s needs.  The children’s justice center/law enforcement/DCFS can get you in touch with some folks who can coach you about how to strike the right balance.  

There will probably be a “delinquency” juvenile court case involving your son that addresses the criminal aspects of what has happened.  (Those records are usually confidential, so your son probably won’t have a “criminal record” once he turns 21).  DCFS might also ask the juvenile court to open a “protective services” case involving the rest of your family, simply so the court can supervise and make sure that the family follows through on any therapeutic treatment that may be indicated for any of the children.  Things are going to start happening really fast for the next couple of weeks, and it will be hard and scary and confusing.  But you will get through it.  

As for your bishop—if this interview just happened this afternoon, then maybe he’s still trying to figure out how to break the news.  Who knows?  But don’t waste time making him out to be either a crutch or a bad guy—he may well be as flat-footed and bewildered by this as you are; and right now you’ve got bigger fish to fry.  The simple fact is that you’re the dad:  now that you know the situation, the buck stops with you.  

Best of luck—

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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 Please Timothy.... get your family the help they so desperately need and call right now.

2 hours ago, TIM0THY said:

What repercussions will I potentially face if choose not to report my son? 

(Pardon me, I got to very blunt here)

As to your son: by keeping your mouth shut, you our allowing this monsterous sin to fester within him, eating him alive.   These sins have torn his soul in two-- and by keeping your mouth shut you are keeping him from the help he needs to be whole.  Besides endangering him, you are also gravely endangering your daughter more, your other daughter, your nieces, and anyone around him-- that brokenness doesn't go away simply because he told you two about it or your "watching him".  And also... to be realistic abusers are often victims of abuse themselves and seldom just abuse one person (if left untreated).    GET HIM HELP NOW.

By keeping your mouth shut, you are also 100% responsible for the mental anguish, worthlessness, and abandonment your daughter feel tomorrow, the day after, and all the decades after that.  Statistically speaking, your daughter is also likely to have major depression, promiscuity (seeking approval that way), and even sucidial tendencies  --- all of which are will go untreated if you do not defend her and open your mouth.  DEFEND HER NOW. 

2 hours ago, TIM0THY said:

So I've come here to see if anyone can help me sort through this mess. What are my legal obligations in this situation? What repercussions will I potentially face if choose not to report my son? How do I balance my legal responsibilities with my responsibilities to my wife and my son?

Your son needs HELP.  Serious major HELP.  It is your God-given duty as his father to get him that help.  Every minute you keep your mouth shut about this, you are depriving him of that help he so DESPERATELY needs.  Call NOW.  Christ's healing atonement is amazing-- I myself was abused as a little girl, and can testify first hand of the Master's miraculous healing.  But you MUST get help for you son.  And for your daughter.  The road ahead of them, and you, and your wife is loooonnng-- I'm not going to lie to you about that.  This tragedy will break you many times before the healing is done.  But is IS possible -- for you daughter, for your son, and for your very scarred wife.  The healing process starts by picking up the phone and calling for help RIGHT now.

2 hours ago, TIM0THY said:

But at the merest hint of this my wife went into hyper-protective mode- she's convinced that we can handle this on our own and that we have no obligation to inform anyone. She then proceeded to tell me about how she endured this kind of abuse at the hands of cousins and even her own brother, and since both she and her brother have "turned out fine" our children will as well.

Again, I'm going to be blunt here--Your wife not "fine", she is BROKEN.  She needs MAJOR therapy about healthy relationships and self esteem (child abuse is NEVER ok).  She is not "protecting" anyone here by allowing this disaster to continue and depriving your children of the help they so desperately need. The help is also for you two... to help you through this gut wrenching nightmare.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Timothy, I'm so sorry that your family is going through this.  I second what Just_A_Guy and Jane Doe have said...second and third.  I really can't add much more than that other than to say again, I'm sorry you all have this great sorrow to deal with.  Follow the counsel that JAG and Jane Doe gave you, and also lean on the Savior.  Because of His Atonement, He understands what you are going through right now, He knows what each member of your family is dealing with right now.  He can heal you, but He will expect you to do your part as JAG and Jane Doe outlined above.  Healing takes time, but through Christ, it is possible for your entire family.  Hold to that as you do what you must do. 

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Dear Timothy,

i am so sorry that you and your family are going through this experience. I hope that you take the advice given above. I am sure that you will be talking to your bishop. If he had no intention on telling you about the interview, you should email the stake president.

Good luck with this difficult situation,

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Wow, what an ordeal.

This may be the toughest decision of your life.  It will probably severely strain your relationship with your wife.  You know that there will be many consequences if you take the advice of JAG and Jane.  But the worst consequences are not listening to them.  One leads down a path for healing.  The other leads down a dark path of lies.

The right thing to do is not always the easy thing to do.  But doing the easy thing may lead to much worse things.

Do the right thing here. Get your family the help they need.  You don't fix things by covering them up.  You fix them by getting them help.  You may have to go against your wife's wishes her.  Don't do this behind her back.  Let her know what you are going to do.  Keep things open between you and her.  It may be painful, but it is the best thing to do.  Ask her for her support and keep praying.

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I don't know all the laws and regulations but I have had several nephews abuse cousins in different counties and based on age - not major stuff but the consequences were different depending on what county they resided in.  In some counties there was no choice of not pressing charges, and in others it wasn't as harsh.  I will 2nd the motion that your daughter is going to need counseling in a major way and it may not manifest itself now but it will eventually so better to work on it sooner than later.    

Your son is young, he needs help as it gets more serious as he gets older.  Good chance he may never serve a mission, but it's more important that he just gets his life in order.  Although kids at this age do know what they are doing they don't really understand.

Wish you the best in this ordeal - it's probably going to be the hardest thing your family goes through.

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11 hours ago, TIM0THY said:

This came to light when my wife asked him if he had been able to renew his temple recommend after church and he told her that he hadn't. She then asked him why he hadn't and he explained to he that he had confessed to our bishop that he had been molesting our 7-year-old daughter.  My wife revealed this information to me later this evening. 

This has been devastating. I feel like a failure as a father for failing to protect my daughter and for failing to teach my son how to control his urges. I'm also unbelievably angry at my son right now. I'm also confused as to why our bishop didn't see the need to inform us of what our son told him in the temple recommend interview. 

On top of these concerns I'm worried about what this will do to my marriage. I believe that I have a legal and social obligation to report my son to the authorities. But at the merest hint of this my wife went into hyper-protective mode- she's convinced that we can handle this on our own and that we have no obligation to inform anyone. She then proceeded to tell me about how she endured this kind of abuse at the hands of cousins and even her own brother, and since both she and her brother have "turned out fine" our children will as well. I remain unconvinced of this and I'm feeling torn between loyalty to my wife and fulfilling my obligation to society and to my daughter to report my son to the authorities as a sexual predator. My wife's interim solution is to keep my son under constant surveillance. Clearly this is not a long-term solution, and while she admits as much this does nothing to assuage my fear that my daughter and he sisters will not suffer additional abuse at the hands of our son.

So I've come here to see if anyone can help me sort through this mess. What are my legal obligations in this situation? What repercussions will I potentially face if choose not to report my son? How do I balance my legal responsibilities with my responsibilities to my wife and my son?

This is not a 'mess'. You have an obligation to your daughter, man.

 

Your son needs help. Your daughter needs protection.  Your legal obligations are the least of your concerns.

 

The fact that you're asking what repercussions YOU will face is horrible and bad and you really, really, really need to sort things out for your daughter. Gah. The fact that this is your very first post here makes me think this is not legitimate at all and just an attempt at attention-seeking, since I sincerely doubt that anyone would create a new account on a new website to get information about an unrelated topic when their daughter was being molested.

If so, this is tasteless. If you legitimately decided "Hey. My son is molesting my daughter. I should see if there's a random website out there with other random members of a group that I'm part of to see i I can get advice on this", then you are a bad person who needs to immediately get off the internet and help your daughter. And if you are offended by this and want to get on here again to try to goad me in to an argument by telling me how offended you are by me, then know that you are prioritizing an INTERNET ARGUMENT over your DAUGHTER'S MOLESTATION.

 

That will tell me enough about you to make my decision about whether this is legitimate or not.

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Oh dear Lord.  I'm sorry you have to go through this.  I know a lady with a similar story to your daughter.  Her parents failed on just about every level possible - here - learn from them and do better.

The parents did worse than turn a blind eye to the whole thing.  They lectured the girl on her duty to forgive.  They were worried about the brother's chances of going on a mission, it never really dawned on them to worry about what being sexually abused does to a little girl.  So all this happened:

- They tried to help the boy repent a whole lot, across years.  They let the girl know she needed to forgive.
- Boy became a teenager and was so distraught he was making noise about suicide.  Nobody talked to girl about it, so she figured she had to forgive or boy might kill himself. 
- The parents did everything they could to keep everything 'in the family'.  Damage control.  Lying to lawyers.  Years later, when daughter filed a police report, they were "frozen with shock and disbelief" and protected boy and claimed in court that daughter had mental issues and should not be believed. 

Tim0thy, right now - right this very minute - get up from the chair, turn away from the keyboard - go and find your daughter.  Give her a big hug and tell her that she hasn't done anything wrong.  That what her brother has been doing to her, is wrong, bad, evil.  The brother may be sick, may be bad, may be dangerous - but whatever the reason, he has done something horrible to her, and she did not deserve it!   Nobody told the lady I know that it wasn't her fault, until a decade later when her shrink told her.  

Tim0thy - decide right now.  When you have to choose between helping your daughter and helping your son, which will you pick?  Most of the process you'll be able to do both.  But not all.  So choose right now.  You get to check one box:
- I will do everything in my power to help my son recover from his misdeeds and live a good life.  I will help him apply the atonement and free himself from this sin.
- I will do everything in my power to protect my daughter from her molester, and recover from her traumas.  I will show her what a good parent does when they learn of such a predator in their midst.  

If you don't alert the authorities, if you don't make a BIG LOUD DAMN STINK about this, that sends a pretty big message to your daughter.  She'll keep going to church and hearing about purity and chastity, and she'll know that such things are just allowed in her home, and all the stuff they talk about at church doesn't apply to her.  She'll go to school and learn about how to not be abused, and no means no, and nobody should be allowed to touch you without your permission, and she'll know that's not true for her family.  Her brother got to touch her a whole bunch, and nobody did anything. 

No really - go break something.  Yell and scream.  Let your daughter and son both know that such behavior is evil and will not be tolerated.  Yes, call the police.  Yes, get the bishop involved.  Yes, very much yes, get both boy and girl into counseling.

Unspoken truth becomes a lie.  Transparency and addressing things directly is the way to go.  

I'm so sorry.  This is a horrible thing with no good or easy answer.  Your daughter is counting on you.

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Oh - and go read this book.  You can get one used for ten bucks plus shipping.  The details are different, but learn from the author's life - and don't be like her mom.

https://www.amazon.com/Miss-America-Day-Betrayals-Unconditional/dp/B0157IR7DC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1534782683&sr=8-2&keywords=miss+america+by+day&dpID=51qy4KwGScL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Edited by NeuroTypical

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12 hours ago, TIM0THY said:

She then proceeded to tell me about how she endured this kind of abuse at the hands of cousins and even her own brother, and since both she and her brother have "turned out fine" our children will as well.

Just saw this.  Yeah, here's how this stuff hides.  There's a multigenerational dimension to your story.  Same with the lady I know.   This event splintered her family.  When you have a victim and a perpetrator of this magnitude, you may have to figure out who to stand behind.  The half of the family that stood behind the son, doesn't have anything to do with the half that stood behind the daughter.  

Your wife is picking the son over the daughter.   If you don't pick your daughter, who will?

I am so sorry you are here.  But you are here.  When you have to choose, choose the innocent in your care who did nothing wrong.  

Another way to think about it: Your family has ended.  Everything has been destroyed and broken.  You can help pick up the pieces and rebuild good things.  Or you can pretend nothing has happened and everything will turn out fine if we all just stop talking about it.

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DISCLAIMER: I have no expertise in this area. I have no real experience in this area. I have a deep and abiding mistrust of governmental interference in family matters. Keep these points in mind while reading my response.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Your son confessed to the bishop that he "had been molesting" your daughter. This sounds like an ongoing pattern. Is it? A 12-year-old boy reaching under his sister's dress once while she was asleep is a vastly different thing from regular, ongoing molestation. The latter would require an intervention, legal as well as physical, and will entail a whole bunch of deep, horrible, inescapable pain for your family. The former, not so much. Getting legal authorities involved because your 12-year-old touched his little sister's genitalia while she was asleep will cause permanent damage to everyone (including your daughter) that will be far worse than any damage caused by a 12-year-old's foolishness.

My non-legal, non-expert advice is: Do NOT contact any legal authorities until you have a good idea what actually happened. You are far better off contacting an attorney -- though until you really know what happened, you may want to confirm that the attorney will not report any and all allegations of sexual assault to legal authorities without finding out anything more. They may be duty-bound to do this. We live in a hypersensitive society where even the allegation of sexual abuse destroys families and individuals. You must react appropriately to this situation, but do not overreact.

WHAT ARE YOUR DUTIES?

Your first duty is to your daughter. She must be protected at all costs. Depending on her level of awareness of what has happened and her level of participation (willing or otherwise), it will probably be useful for someone to counsel with her and help her understand what has happened and her own feelings surrounding it. In any case, your actions will need to be directed toward her protection and healing. That is Priority 1 and will be the main determinant of your response to this situation.

Your next duty is to your son. He must be shown how to overcome this in himself. He must be loved and cherished, even if -- especially if -- there are legal consequences to his actions. If you feel anger and disgust toward him, then you must get past those feelings and assert your inner adult instead. After his sister's well-being, your son's well-being is your main concern. It is possible that his guilt for his actions have caused him to overstate what he's done. You absolutely must have a good idea of what actually went on before proceeding.

Your next duty is to your wife. She's looking to protect your son, which is natural. But depending on what actually happened, this may be the completely wrong thing to do. Again, your daughter's well-being must come first, and your son's next. But your wife says she herself was molested, so she may well be dealing with some blowback from that. Support and help her, but not at the expense of your daughter (or son).

SHOULD YOU BELIEVE ME?

Others who have answered certainly have more stripes on their sleeves than I do, at least when it comes to this issue. I came up with my answer by putting myself in your shoes and thinking what I would ideally do. I am not legally sophisticated. I am not a great believer in psychotherapy. I believe in doing the right thing, protecting the innocent, and helping those who need help. Accept my advice, or that of anyone else on this forum, at your own risk.

BOTTOM LINE

Protect your daughter, and love and stand with your son. Above all, FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED so that you can make intelligent decisions. Do the hard thing that needs to be done, but don't subject your family to governmental destruction just because you're afraid that people will think you're a bad father if you don't.

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2 hours ago, Vort said:

DISCLAIMER: I have no expertise in this area. I have no real experience in this area. I have a deep and abiding mistrust of governmental interference in family matters. Keep these points in mind while reading my response..... <Jane abridging> ...  Above all, FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED so that you can make intelligent decisions. 

I think JAG's words are wise here (emphasis mine):

14 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Third—do NOT talk to your daughter about this.  She needs to be interviewed by a trained investigator/therapist; and unskilled interviewers can do more harm than good from both a psychological and forensic standpoint. 

I remember being a molested seven year old girl-- terrified, hurt, in the throughs of PTSD and depression.   I didn't have the vocabulary / concept knowledge to understand what was going on myself, let alone how to explain it to other people!   Honestly, it would have it would have been easier to describe getting abducted by aliens.   When I tried to tell my extremely loving parents what was going.... it was an epic scarring failure.  They didn't understand what I was trying to say with words I didn't have for concepts I didn't understand.  Yes, they loved me and were trying their best but... that incredible gut-wrenching loneliness and desertion-- that no one could understand me at all, and that trying just brought more pain and loss.  In a way, it was just scarring as the abuse itself -- and it's not that my parents were ever anything less than amazingly loving... but we couldn't talk about this because we were so out of our league.

My story and many others like it are why I SO recommend having a trained therapist there to help you communicate with your daughter, to build that communication bridge you both so desperately need.  They have experience in how listen and how to ask the right questions that can help her find the words she needs.  

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50 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I think JAG's words are wise here (emphasis mine):

16 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Third—do NOT talk to your daughter about this.  She needs to be interviewed by a trained investigator/therapist; and unskilled interviewers can do more harm than good from both a psychological and forensic standpoint. 

Who said anything about talking to the daughter? Talk to the son. He's the one who said he did something. Find out what he's saying he did.

51 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

My story and many others like it are why I SO recommend having a trained therapist there to help you communicate with your daughter, to build that communication bridge you both so desperately need.  They have experience in how listen and how to ask the right questions that can help her find the words she needs.

This may be very good advice, so long as the "trained therapist" is better than the parents at such communication. Paint me skeptical that some random "trained therapist" can, on average, communicate with my daughter better than I and/or my wife can, much less that any such person would have her well-being more at heart than her parents.

When there has already been a confession of "abuse" without any detail of what that abuse entailed, the "trained therapist" will go into the encounter with the daughter carrying preconceptions that she (the "trained therapist") will be trying to feel out. There will be a presupposition of guilt, and the seven-year-old will be neither capable nor answerable for ensuring truthful communications. Who's to say that the therapist's "ask[ing] the right questions that can help her find the words she needs" is not in reality asking leading questions, carefully guiding her down the garden path -- all with the very best of intentions, of course. Of such "therapy" are false memories born.

Maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe these "trained therapists" are truly disinterested and concerned only with finding the truth. If so, that's the way to go. But I am prone not to believe it. Were such a possible horror (remember, so far all we have is the brief testimony of a bishop claiming a young man confessed a sin to him, so we don't actually have any good idea what happened) to have occurred in my family, I would have been reluctant indeed to expose my precious daughter to such "experts".

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1 minute ago, Vort said:

This may be very good advice, so long as the "trained therapist" is better than the parents at such communication. Paint me skeptical that some random "trained therapist" can, on average, communicate with my daughter better than I and/or my wife can, much less that any such person would have her well-being more at heart than her parents.

How much experience do you and your wife have finding words to describe the bloody details of molestestation with a 7 year old?    Hopefully none.  

But that experience makes a WORLD of difference when finding words to talk to a hurt kid.  My parents never lacked love, but they did lack this experience.  I have seen cases of abuse wherein the child did have someone to help them find the words, so that they and their parents could build that bridge and communicate that love.  A therapist is never going to take the place of a loving parent, but rather helps the parent better be there for their child (versus like in my case where they couldn't be there because we didn't have words).  

1 minute ago, Vort said:

Maybe I'm too cynical. 

You are.  

Yes, there are bad doctors out there (including ones that treat mental wounds), no denying that.  But to blanket scorn ALL doctors of a certain profession and scorn treatment.... I find such a path to be HIGHLY unwise.  The daughter, and the son, both NEED treatment here.  

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5 hours ago, FunkyTown said:

This is not a 'mess'. You have an obligation to your daughter, man.

 

Your son needs help. Your daughter needs protection.  Your legal obligations are the least of your concerns.

 

The fact that you're asking what repercussions YOU will face is horrible and bad and you really, really, really need to sort things out for your daughter. Gah. The fact that this is your very first post here makes me think this is not legitimate at all and just an attempt at attention-seeking, since I sincerely doubt that anyone would create a new account on a new website to get information about an unrelated topic when their daughter was being molested.

If so, this is tasteless. If you legitimately decided "Hey. My son is molesting my daughter. I should see if there's a random website out there with other random members of a group that I'm part of to see i I can get advice on this", then you are a bad person who needs to immediately get off the internet and help your daughter. And if you are offended by this and want to get on here again to try to goad me in to an argument by telling me how offended you are by me, then know that you are prioritizing an INTERNET ARGUMENT over your DAUGHTER'S MOLESTATION.

 

That will tell me enough about you to make my decision about whether this is legitimate or not.

According to his profile he joined 2 years ago.  Perhaps not so random.

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1 minute ago, Jane_Doe said:

How much experience do you and your wife have finding words to describe the bloody details of molestestation with a 7 year old?    Hopefully none.

And what if such "bloody details" are unnecessary? You are assuming the "molestation" was some horrific, ongoing thing. What if it wasn't?

Can I be sure that the "trained therapist" will get ONLY the truth from my child, and will not suggest to her seven-year-old mind much more nefarious scenarios that never actually happened but that a compliant, willing-to-please seven-year-old might accept at the word of her "expert" questioner?

Why might I be prone to believe in the skills of a "trained therapist", trained as s/he is in sociology and psychology, the former of which is no kind of real science and the latter only the most tenuous and squishy of what might be so termed? That's giving a whole lot of power over the well-being of my daughter and my entire family to someone whose worldview, moral philosophy, and educational background is often orthogonal or even hostile to my own.

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6 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:
23 minutes ago, Vort said:

Maybe I'm too cynical. 

You are.  

You may be right, but I'm not going to take your word for it.

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

And what if such "bloody details" are unnecessary? You are assuming the "molestation" was some horrific, ongoing thing. What if it wasn't?

Can I be sure that the "trained therapist" will get ONLY the truth from my child, and will not suggest to her seven-year-old mind much more nefarious scenarios that never actually happened but that a compliant, willing-to-please seven-year-old might accept at the word of her "expert" questioner?

Why might I be prone to believe in the skills of a "trained therapist", trained as s/he is in sociology and psychology, the former of which is no kind of real science and the latter only the most tenuous and squishy of what might be so termed? That's giving a whole lot of power over the well-being of my daughter and my entire family to someone whose worldview, moral philosophy, and educational background is often orthogonal or even hostile to my own.

You do realize that a loving parent is usually right there for the interview....

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@Vort, I your suspicion of the mental health community (perhaps not to the same degree; but I definitely agree that they generally don’t know as much as they think they do and, with a few exceptions, aren’t as effective as they want the public to think they are); and I do agree that it’s a good idea to talk to the boy and see exactly what sort of behavior we’re talking about—personally I wouldn’t be reporting, say, a slap on the rump or something of that nature.  On the other hand, the specific tense used by the OP suggested a repeated pattern of behavior that was apparently enough to keep the boy from a temple recommend.

False memory in victims is definitely a thing; and even careless (or sinister) lay questioners are perfectly capable of creating them.  (I’ve declined to move forward on sex abuse cases where the alleged victim made disclosures in a videotaped interview with her grandparents because the grandparents questioned her in such a way that even a rookie defense attorney could have shown that the testimony was tainted.) There are also specific protocols designed to avoid creating false memories (example:  http://nichdprotocol.com/).  Law enforcement will be trained to follow those protocols, and therapists should at least know that they exist and know that for forensic purposes they need to let law enforcement do their thing before probing too deeply with a client.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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44 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

You do realize that a loving parent is usually right there for the interview....

I did not. Perhaps that makes a difference, or perhaps not.

My concern in this topic is not to disparage sincere attempts to uncover abuse, or even to mock those with questionable credentials, even if recognized. My concern is to rescue the daughter, then the son, then the whole family. I have little confidence in police procedure or (especially) psychology.

I have freely admitted my biases and even the possibility that I'm overly cynical. But you are in no position to judge whether or not I'm too cynical -- despite your willingness to  proffer your opinion on the matter. Your own biases are evident, though somehow you seem not to recognize them as biases. You might consider the possibility that you are far too close to the situation to offer any sort of reliably unbiased opinion.

Edited by Vort

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Not knowing the details, and that's important, I can't judge.  What I can glean is that your son confessed to the bishop, which means he isn't hiding it anymore, and most likely feels remorse.  He also probably knows he needs help.  These are all good signs.  Repentance and forgiveness should be the goals, and unfortunately, in our legal and cultural atmosphere I fear those things may not be possible.  I wish you the best and please don't abandon your son or let the state destroy him.

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I agree with Vort in that the word "molesting" needs to be clarified. There is a wide range of possibilities of what went on there. Could be that the 13 yr old is calling what he did "molesting" when it really wasn't. I would not call the cops and DFHS and the whole entourage till you know for sure. 

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