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FIL potentially a pedophile? need advice!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi so I really need some help here, as I'm lost on what to do.

I have a 7-yo DD and 5-yo DD, biologically my ex-husband's. We separated when the girls were 2 and 3 months and my now husband has raised as his own since. We have a 4-yo DS and 20-month-old DD together.

At first, my FIL was like a dream grandparent. My oldest two daughters were accepted into my now husband's family with no question and he loved them as if they were his biological granddaughters, and was always so good with all four of the kids. Both my MIL and FIL have a history of meth abuse, but this ended for FIL over a decade ago, though MIL has continually traded off one addiction for another (and is currently an alcoholic).

In 2010, at a family wedding, I overheard something I found alarming. My FIL had been drinking and was hanging around my MIL's 11-year-old great niece and he was saying how he had a "hot date" with this "cute chick", referring to the 11-year-old girl and he put his arm around her. He was apparently planning to take her to the movies on a "date". In my mind, I'm questioning boundaries there, but I brushed it off because I knew that he frequently took a different 11-yr-old girl whose mother is my MIL's best friend out for "dates" to see movies or dinner. I'm thinking at the time, okay, these are girls without fathers and he's probably just trying to be a good male role model. But something struck as me just weird about the whole thing. I mentioned it to DH, and he didn't seem to think it was a big deal. After all, FIL had been the one solid parent to his four sons during the years of turmoil surrounding MIL's addiction problems. I kept it in the back of my mind, but moved on.

Last week, FIL and MIL had a party at their house. Their parties get notoriously a bit rowdy, and FIL was very, very drunk in no time. MIL went to bed, as usual and it was FIL, the same 11-year-old great niece (now almost 14 years old), myself, and several others who were intoxicated. My FIL became horrifyingly inappropriate with his wife's great niece. He would look at her and say, "You know what's crazy? How much I fucking love you, you whore! You're just a hot, slutty bitch and I fuckin' love you!" He repeatedly made statements like this and I was horrified. I was NOT shocked, but was horrified for this poor girl. She was uncomfortable with it, as anyone would be, so I was telling her "You are not a whore, or a slut, or a bitch. This is HIS problem, not yours." and telling her to ignore him. I was very close to calling him out on it right there, but for the sake of not making a big scene with a drunk and his drunken friends, I just talked to her about it as it was happening. And though she said, "Well this is nice, being called a whore and a slut and a bitch all night!" sarcastically, I got the feeling that she was used to it and that it was almost...flattering to her to get the attention. There was a big bonfire and watching FIL stare slowly and deliberately at her butt, legs, and even her vagina area as she moved was repulsive. I found DH, we gathered the sleeping kids, and went home. I told DH about what I had witnessed. He wasn't shocked either, but was pretty disturbed. So we talked about how to handle it.

I fb messaged the girl two days later, asking her how she felt about the way he had treated her. She was hesitant to say anything bad had occurred, but did say she felt he had taken it too far and we should get together and talk about it. I decided, with support from DH, to talk to his mom about it. She FLIPPED. She said she didn't believe me, said I had made it into a problem where her niece hadn't felt there was one. I told her she was enabling sexual harrassment of a child (she is), and she is outraged at me. I told her I would play the bad guy if she just needs someone to blame (I was very tactful in bringing it up initially, but once she called me a liar and began defending the repulsive behavior, I was done being nice), but she better believe I am going to defend that girl against this inappropriate man, who she spends wayyyy too much time with unsupervised. MIL's family has a long history of sexual and verbal and physical abuse, so it isn't surprising to me that the niece doesn't find his behavior deviant, though it is sad that this is what she expects of men. MIL is an enabler always, but this is bad.

DH works with his dad, and his dad refuses to speak to him for three days. I have DH's support, but this situation makes me consider my three daughters (and son!) and what is now sure to be the lost relationship with both grandparents on DH's side. What do I do from here?!?

Side note: FIL has outrageous amounts of pornography depicting "legal" girls who look to be barely teenagers. MIL told me that they have not had sex in 15 years due to his "diabetes", something she feels is an excuse since he masturbates to his porn with no issue.
post #2 of 23

Please trust your gut with this one.  For some reason people tend to be more hesitant and give the benefit of the doubt when family members are  involved in these types of situations, and that is probably why the rate of sexual abuse is alarmingly high (and most abusers are family members).  My mother's family experienced an alarming amount of child abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, etc.), yet the children who were abused later still exposed their children to the abusers for years because they wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, and did not want to deny us our grandparents (and i'm sure were still longing for love and acceptance from their parents).   This was very confusing for me, and I am blessed beyond belief to have never been abused by those people.  I only hope all of my cousins were as lucky as I.  If I were you I would find out from the 14 year old if she has been  touched inappropriately asap - if she has, call the authorities!  These type of abusers rarely have just one victim, and it is not enough just keeping your children away from him.   Even if you find out nothing physically inappropriate has happened, this man needs to be called out for his own good - if he did that to any child in public he could (and hopefully would) be arrested.

post #3 of 23

Trust your gut and can you approach the parents of these girls so they are aware of the behavior.  It's not ok at all!

post #4 of 23
As hard as it is to believe, these types really exist. I would keep your girls away @ all costs & maybe even alert the authorities on behalf of the 14yo.
post #5 of 23
Keep in mind also that if abuse has been going on for years, the girl may not want to admit to it/ face it. She could feel it is her fault, embarrassed, ashamed, etc. Something like this could be very difficult to resolve. If u suspect abuse, u should also contact the police or child services rather than just trying to fix it on your own. In the meantime, keep your children away! As a victim of child sexual assault by a trusted neighbor, i know firsthand how nasty these situations can get.
post #6 of 23
^So true. I went through a training on preventing abuse & one thing that really stood out was that these situations can continue when the community is willing to look the other way . . .

Seems like you may need to secure another source of income for you family if you act tho. If you do call DSS, try to do so in a way that you won't be super easily identified.
post #7 of 23
Yeesh! My kids would be nowhere around either grandparent, ever. The alcoholism alone would prevent me from ever leaving my kids alone with them, but the wildly inappropriate speech and actions, combined with grandma ignoring his behavior would end our relationship, sorry to say. And I'm not usually a "cut them off" type of person.

You're doing good in not backing down from talking about this. Keep it up, it must be really hard.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
I did ask her if he had ever touched her inappropriately, and she said no, but she isn't very forthcoming with information. I really think she doesn't know this is wrong.

As for my MIL's drinking, we have had many discussions with her about it and she is quite sick from years and years of drug abuse. She will have a heart attack and quit drinking for awhile, then start again. Our kids don't see her that often, as she goes to bed around 6pm every day. But when she is around the kids, she doesn't drink because DH wont allow it, which is great.

DH is extremely supportive of my actions on this and would not ever choose their side over mine, so I'm not worried about that. Coming from two drug users and enablers, DH is remarkably steady and normal, though his three younger brothers all have lots of issues - especially the 18-year-old twins who have spent 8 months each in jail. The thing is, DH really loves his dad. His dad was his hero who saved him from a lot of awful stuff growing up, and he's having a hard time knowing how to handle it, but he's very angry at his dad right now. He thinks his dad doesn't know that this is wrong, and that scares him a lot. But he did say he would punch his dad in the face if he says one negative thing about me having told MIL about it. I don't feel like the police are the way to go at this point. We live in a pretty rural area with lots of over-reactive police who are bored and create things to do. They would not do anything, and it would feed the problem at this point. If he did touch someone or did more and I knew it, I would report him immediately.

Here's the bottom line of our dilemma. My husband asks me what is the goal of this. And it's a good question. It's hard for me to say what needs to happen. Counseling? At the very least, him owning up to his actions. But his enabling wife is just making him the victim of my outlandish accusations - sigh. She even threatened me, "I have to warn you, don't do this." That says a lot to me, that she knows something isn't okay with what he's been doing.

I thought about talking to the girl's mom. She is a single mom, a drug addict, who was sexually abused herself. she is quite close to MIL, so I know she would immediately tell MIL. Right now, I'm thinking that at the very least, when the girl is sent to MIL and FIL's house for days at a time, at least MIL will have it in her mind that things are sketchy. She may not believe me, but she wont be able to avoid thinking about it. It's a shame, my relationship with her was pretty great. It's astonishing to me that she can be so in denial! But I will not "let it go" as she demands.
post #9 of 23
Days @ a time? It sorta sounds like not only is he a pedophile but he has a live in GF? And it seems like MIL already has some insider knowledge . . .
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
It does, doesn't it? I've always found this creepy and abnormal, but everyone chalks it up to him being such a great guy who is soooo good with kids.

He has always been closest with my second daughter, who is 5. She is my most affectionate kid, and will climb up on any relative to cuddle, it seems. But while she was snuggling DH last week, she told him she's uncomfortable sitting on guys' laps because of the way their privates feel. Um....what? We looked at each other like wtf. Granted, she is a bit obsessed with penises right now because her little brother doesn't wear pants a whole lot and she never allows him on her bed without pants on. But still...that's a red flag for me.
post #11 of 23
Rural area or not, ANY suspicion of child abuse needs to be reported. Children often do not have a voice of their own and depend on someone else to save them. Im sorry, but if ur fil IS abusing her (and/or others), counseling isnt going to cut it. Jail time is in order. Think if it were ur kids on the end of suspected abuse. Im sure u would want someone who suspected it to report it. His words alone are cause for suspicion. Do it anonymously if u have to, but just do it.
post #12 of 23
Pedophile or not I would never ever leave my kids alone with him even if I was in the house. That is just terrible behavior.
post #13 of 23
Just adding here that is if there is anything to your suspicions, the next thing you can expect to happen is this 14 yo turns up pregnant. If that has not happened already. It is vital you act soonish, if that happens, either choice can devastate her life even more than it has perhaps already been devastated.
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by lionmama08 View Post

I thought about talking to the girl's mom. She is a single mom, a drug addict, who was sexually abused herself. she is quite close to MIL, so I know she would immediately tell MIL. Right now, I'm thinking that at the very least, when the girl is sent to MIL and FIL's house for days at a time, at least MIL will have it in her mind that things are sketchy. She may not believe me, but she wont be able to avoid thinking about it. It's a shame, my relationship with her was pretty great. It's astonishing to me that she can be so in denial! But I will not "let it go" as she demands.

I would absolutely tell the girl's mom. Your MIL already knows you're blowing the whistle on this issue, so it doesn't matter if the girl's mom tells your MIL that you talked to her. What does matter is that maybe she'll stop sending her daughter over there for days at a time if someone lets her know sketchy things are happening.

As far as what should happen next (counseling, etc.), you have no way of enforcing that. I would just inform CPS and let them worry about what happens next.

This must be so stressful. I'm glad your DH is on your side in this.
post #15 of 23

I would be telling the girl's mom that she can leave her with you and DH instead of FIL when she wants to go on a bender or whatever she's doing that requires her not to be living at home for a few days. And that I would be reporting HER to CPS if she continues to leave her daughter alone with a verbally abusive, sexually inappropriate man. She is failing to protect her daughter by allowing him to verbally assault her like that. And then when you DO call CPS, you can tell them you'd like to be her kinship placement so she doesn't have to live in a foster home.

post #16 of 23
If this man has had unfettered access to the girl since she was 11 (and presumably well before then?) I would assume that he has spent plenty of time grooming her, so I wouldnt be surprised if she isn't very forthcoming with details, or if she almost seems to enjoy the attention and seems reluctant to out him. Especially if she is from a broken home with parent(s) who struggle with addiction. Abusers usually prey on children like her, because their vulnerability leaves them more compliant. And abusers are good at cultivating the "good guy" image among other adults, because it allows them to get away with their abuse longer, unchecked.

I'd say your FIL absolutely showed his true colors that night at the bonfire when he got drunk and said those things/oogled his niece. Frankly I'm shocked that you are the only adult who seemed to notice and be repulsed by it! But that fact suggests to me that this girl really has no one in her life--close or extended family or adult friends--who is willing or able to protect her. I urge YOU to be that adult, by notifying her mother AND also calling CPS. and if i were you I would certainly never leave my children in his presence without my own close supervision. (Actually, I would never bring my children around him, period. But sometimes its not that simple.)
Edited by kitteh - 8/17/13 at 10:15am
post #17 of 23
post #18 of 23

Yes, normally I would say to tell the girl's parents immediately. In this case, you still should, but it won't do any good because of the situation (drug addicted mom with past sexual abuse, passing her daughter off to drug addicts knowing what could happen to her). Something needs to be done and it sounds like you are the only stable people who can help this girl and any other kids he has been grooming. Good luck.

post #19 of 23
My DD's paternal grandfather is a pedophile (years and years of treatment and the family sweeping it under the rug later). I do not allow DD in his or his wife's presence unsupervised ever. Ever.
What you're describing is much more than pedophilia. This is full on chaotic, unhealthy, entrenched, multigenerational family dynamics that you cannot fix. Nobody else in the family is concerned because this is normal for them. Report to CPS with the understanding that they may not do anything, and make yourself a port in the storm for your niece. She needs it. It will be a balancing act between how far to pull yourself back for your own kids' safety vs staying close enough to the situation to support this girl.
post #20 of 23

Was the 14yo drinking with everyone?  If a situation like this arises again I would somehow get her out of there.  I wouldn't leave her there with a bunch of drunk people and sick FIL.  It sounds like you will be the one to protect her.  Sad.

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