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#61 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing I thought of which is a spin-off of the "maybe they were uncomfortable" idea, were they drinking too? If not, is it possible they/he was uncomfortable with the adults drinking? .
True. We were drinking, and at least one night a week, we all get together and do this. We condsider it responsible drinking, because we only have to walk back into our own garages and put our lawn chairs away.

The Mom was drinking with us though, and she seemed to be having fun. They are still unpacking, and she said it was a wonderful break from what she still needed to get done. So, I assume they aren't completely against it.

I don't actually know if her husband was drinking though. He may have had a beer, but that would have been it.

The other kids are all outside right now riding scooters and bikes. The new girl is not out there, but I don't know if they invited her or not. I would assume they are still trying to settle the house.

Anyway. We are going to keep an eye on this.

Some of your points reminded me of something...

I dated a man who would NEVER let me go. He touched me and hugged me and stared at me every second we were together. I hated it. I couldn't do anything alone. I can't imagine having those feelings when I was ten. Even if this isn't molestation, if he acts like this all the time, it just isn't right to make her feel like she is his possession.
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#62 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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Calling cps could really hurt the family and give him an unwarranted reputation that he will never be able to shake.
I don't know that much about CPS investigations, but it's still innocent until proven guilty. He'll only get a bad reputation if he is investigated, found suspect, criminally charged and convicted as a sex offender. Otherwise he's an innocent man.

So yes, the stepdad is innocent. I don't see how having CPS or other official interview the stepdaughter will devastate the family if there's nothing wrong going on. The authorities can find out pretty quickly if there's nothing wrong and let's hope there's not.

But if there is something and the OP is right in her feeeling, and does nothing, then this little girl will suffer so very much.

And yes, I feel the fact that it's a Stepdad makes a big differencs. Statistically, stepdads are much more likely to be abusers. That doesn't make this stepdad an abuser, but the odds are higher that he may be.
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#63 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Viewfinder;9696019]
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

Okay, let's reiterate what the OP mentioned, because it becomes cumulative:

1) I am uncomfortable with the relationship between the ten year old girl and her Step Dad.

Intuiton is powerful, it is the inner voice to which the wise tell us to listen.

2) The parents ... have been together for three years

Merely three; the child was seven at first contact. Of the sexually abused as children, the bulk were first assaulted at close to seven.

3) But, the Step dad never let her go. Litterally.

A grown man who keeps his hands on a ten year old girl for a solid hour and a half. Hey, if the child was a BOY and the man was a priest, would people get how creepy this is?

4) and 5) He touched and kissed her the whole evening.

If I was on a group DATE with someone, and they touched and kissed me the whole evening, I would be annoyed.

6) It was so creepy.

Intuition says, "HEY, I'm talking to you!!"

7) He had her back to his front,

Okay, even if this man was pure as the driven snow innocent, I would have to say, "Excuse me, but, if this girl's school teacher were a man, would it be a GOOD thing for her to be comfortable with HIM standing close to her back with his front? Because that's kind of what you are teaching her right now, that it's cool for a grown man to stand up against her like that."

8) and kept his hands on her chest the whole night.

Fifth grade girls are often sporting their first bra, so their "chest area" is very sensitive at this point... they KNOW that this is a sexual area of their bodies.

9) He rubbed her stomach, and

A grown man's hands on a ten year old's stomach would put his touch close to both her breast area and her pubic area. Get back, dude. Rub your wife's stomach.

10) he kissed her roughly on top of the head about six times.

Roughly. Go kiss your wife roughly, dude.

11) When they sat on a bench, he pulled her in really close, and had both arms wrapped around her.

12) She [looked] like she would rather be sitting normal, or off playing.

She did? Of course she did. She's a ten year old girl, being manhandled by her mom's boyfriend now husband.

13) and 14) the other moms and a few of the dads were bothered by it.

A few of the dads were bothered by it--this speaks volumes. If other dads noticed it and were creeped out at all, I read that as a corroboration from like a different camera angle.

15) The other ten year old asked her to come play, She said "Can I?" and the step dad, said, "Why don't you just sit with me for a while".

She asked "Can I?" and he makes the negative answer a reference to HIM and HIS needs for her presence.

16) Mostly, it just felt "wrong" to me. I just got a bad vibe from them.

Intuition.
QUOTE]

People who have been sexually molested as children, and ascended to some manner of stable adjustment as adults have the most credible viewpoints on this matter, imo. Some have offered theirs; listen.

All of the other well-meant defense in the names of known-quantity good, loving men/dads/stepdads has little or no application here. None of their situations sound similar, as they have described them. I'm sorry. They don't.

There has been an overwhelming amount of CREEP factor observed and noted by a NUMBER of ADULTS. If it were one, or even three or four things, but there were so very MANY inappropriate behaviors observed... It's overwhelming.

If this isn't inappropriate due to something like a couple of pps have suggested, like the child being some kind of special needs or social anxiety... well, SOME of the behaviors are STILL inappropriate, like the chest stuff, the stomach stuff, the back to front stuff, the rough kissing, never let her go... no, I'm sorry. This is WAY over the top.

And why is a fifth grader "finishing out the YEAR at her old school? It's NOVEMBER, not March or February. MORE of the year is AHEAD than behind.

I would definitely, absolutely find every avenue I could to gain more awareness of that family, because IF the creep factor is on the money, you, OP, may be the first and last chance this kid ever gets to escaping sexual slavery. And isn't it so much better to err on the side of caution in a situation where the innocence and future health and happiness of a CHILD is concerned? I think so.

If, God willing, you find out that this is the greatest guy who doing the best thing in the world for all concerned, then, you know what? That is fantastic, absolutely super. And this great, wonderful guy will also completely understand why his behavior came off as a possible red light to such a number of other parents of ten year-old girls in the neighborhood.

VF
Very well said, Viewfinder. I had to quote the whole thing because your recap is so good.

There are a number of things that put this into "creepy" and raise legitimate red flags. Nextcommercial, please find and talk to someone trained in sexual abuse protection and get some advice.

I'll add that if you called an investigation on my innocent family, I would be OK, I would be shocked, etc., but I would value your concern for the well being of my children.

If you end up calling an investigation and nothing is found, then you offer a sincere apology and bake them some cookies and get on with life. Don't worry aobut the embarassment of possibly making a false call, worry about THE GIRL'S SAFETY. Trust that people with training will do an effective job of working out their investigation and coming to a conclusion. It's not your job to have to prove that abuse is occurring, you are doing your job by being a caring and concerned neighbor who noticed and is paying attention to the red flags you saw and felt.

I'd also not worry about the "what ifs". Right now you deal with the facts of what you saw. Those facts support your questioning of what is going on between this stepdad and 10 year old girl.

Best wishes, I know it is difficult to deal with community issues, but I truly believe you are doing right to care about protecting this girl if she turns out to be in danger, and it seems you have legitimate reasons to be worried for her.

Hugs, I will pray for you and your neighbors.
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#64 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 06:09 PM
 
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As someone who came from an abusive household here is what I have to say...

I agree it is a wonderful thing when fathers show affection to their daughters throughout their lives but there are definately things that are inappropriate in this situation.

What gives me red flags is that the stepfather had his hands on her the entire time - her chest, her stomach, her back pressed against him. Not appropriate IMO. Also, the fact that he wouldn't let her go play with the other children. My father did this too and it was because he was obsessive and wanted me constantly with him.

PPs do have some good points but I am sure my neighbors rationalized what they knew about our family too. My mother also knew my father was a creep.

It is hard to say exactly what is going on with your new neighbors but what can it hurt calling some type of experts in your community and telling them what you posted here to see what they have to say? IMO it can only help.
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#65 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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I want to add that my mother also knew that I was being abused. Don't assume that if mom's ok with whatever is going on, then nothing's going on.

Heck, neighbors, teachers, friends and family all knew it was going on. CPS visited me several times in school. By the time I realized that all the system could do was to piss him off and embarrass me, I finally stopped telling until I was 16 and just left.

Later, though, I was very touched to realize that so many neighbors and friends of parents were trying to help. Family never tried to help at all, so I guess neighbors are all some kids can hope for.

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#66 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 08:21 PM
 
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I don't know that much about CPS investigations, but it's still innocent until proven guilty. He'll only get a bad reputation if he is investigated, found suspect, criminally charged and convicted as a sex offender. Otherwise he's an innocent man.

So yes, the stepdad is innocent. I don't see how having CPS or other official interview the stepdaughter will devastate the family if there's nothing wrong going on. The authorities can find out pretty quickly if there's nothing wrong and let's hope there's not.

But if there is something and the OP is right in her feeeling, and does nothing, then this little girl will suffer so very much.

And yes, I feel the fact that it's a Stepdad makes a big differencs. Statistically, stepdads are much more likely to be abusers. That doesn't make this stepdad an abuser, but the odds are higher that he may be.
legally innocent yes, but even an investigation would make him suspected and the recipient of uncomfortable stares
who do you think will invite the 'suspected child abuser' to the next barbecue? or let their kid have a sleepover at him house?
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#67 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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legally innocent yes, but even an investigation would make him suspected and the recipient of uncomfortable stares
who do you think will invite the 'suspected child abuser' to the next barbecue? or let their kid have a sleepover at him house?
LMAO! I can promise you, NONE of our kids are going to sleep over at their house. Their child would be more than welcome in our homes though. We would never dream of interrogating the child either.
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#68 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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To all the posters that mention it would be awful for someone to be viewed as a child abuser but be innocent and the ramifications of that label -

Wouldn't it be better to chance it and try to help the child?

Is it better to not accuse an innocent adult than to potentially help an innocent child?

If there were a CPS investigation, would EVERYONE know about the investigation and what it entails?

According to the OP many neighbors witnessed this behavior and were uncomfortable, and though it wasn't stated, probably wondering the same thing the OP did so I am guessing many of them suspect something is going on already and will face some stigmas.

As someone who was in an abusive situation it is hard for me to think of the adults in the family before the child who IMO is helpless...
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#69 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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legally innocent yes, but even an investigation would make him suspected and the recipient of uncomfortable stares
who do you think will invite the 'suspected child abuser' to the next barbecue? or let their kid have a sleepover at him house?
I'm thinking he is already "suspected" by the neighbors who were out that particular evening.
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#70 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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What?? This is the most logical conclusion? That's a pretty big accusation to put on someone you've never even met.
Ditto to that. I thought I was the only one who thought this way.

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#71 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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I would agree if it were the biological parent, but it is weird that it is the step-dad.
Why? Some step fathers are more involved than biological fathers, and some step fathers have been in the childs life for as long as they can remember. I realize this child has not known the step father for as long, but still. Thats a blanket statement that seems odd to me.


I vote to stop judging what you don't know. Seriously. Watch them. Get to know them. Perhaps there are reasons you cannot possibly see. CPS? Because she sat with him? And it appears to you that she didn't socialize? Geesh.

No way would I ever put a child or another human being through that unless I was damn sure there was abuse or neglect going on. And yes, this IS coming from a sexual abuse surviver. My biological father molested me from birth to age 9, if that qualifies me to give an opinion.

And no, as far as CPS goes it is guilty until proven innocent. Thats the way child protective services has always been. I do not think ruining someones life, possibly the childs as well on a whim or a creepy feeling is the best course of action.

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#72 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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To all the posters that mention it would be awful for someone to be viewed as a child abuser but be innocent and the ramifications of that label -

Wouldn't it be better to chance it and try to help the child?

Is it better to not accuse an innocent adult than to potentially help an innocent child?

If there were a CPS investigation, would EVERYONE know about the investigation and what it entails?

According to the OP many neighbors witnessed this behavior and were uncomfortable, and though it wasn't stated, probably wondering the same thing the OP did so I am guessing many of them suspect something is going on already and will face some stigmas.

As someone who was in an abusive situation it is hard for me to think of the adults in the family before the child who IMO is helpless...
I agree with you. Him being falsely accused is better then if she is being abused, IMO? What other option is there?
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#73 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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It could be any one of the reasons posted here, however, if there is any chance at all no matter how slim that this girl is being molested then she needs help.
The consequences of you guys taking action and being wrong is not as great as if you do nothing and she is being abused.

go ahead, get involved.

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#74 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Why? Some step fathers are more involved than biological fathers, and some step fathers have been in the childs life for as long as they can remember. I realize this child has not known the step father for as long, but still. Thats a blanket statement that seems odd to me.


I vote to stop judging what you don't know. Seriously. Watch them. Get to know them. Perhaps there are reasons you cannot possibly see. CPS? Because she sat with him? And it appears to you that she didn't socialize? Geesh.

No way would I ever put a child or another human being through that unless I was damn sure there was abuse or neglect going on. And yes, this IS coming from a sexual abuse surviver. My biological father molested me from birth to age 9, if that qualifies me to give an opinion.

And no, as far as CPS goes it is guilty until proven innocent. Thats the way child protective services has always been. I do not think ruining someones life, possibly the childs as well on a whim or a creepy feeling is the best course of action.
What should she watch for? What signs would be a more concrete indication of abuse? Do you really think she will know more by waiting, watching and getting to know the family? If something is happening to her, how likely is it that the op will see more than what she has?

Yeah it really, really sucks that some are falsely accused of sexual abuse but until there is a way to identify who is an abuser then the focus should be about protecting a child.

Would some of you be as comfortable is it was a 10yo niece, or a 10yo friend or how about a 10yo boy?
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#75 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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The consequences of you guys taking action and being wrong is not as great as if you do nothing and she is being abused.
Can you promise this?
No, of course you can't. Sometimes being wrong about something like that can have lifelong consequences that are even worse than the possible abuse itself.

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#76 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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What should she watch for? What signs would be a more concrete indication of abuse? Do you really think she will know more by waiting, watching and getting to know the family? If something is happening to her, how likely is it that the op will see more than what she has?

Yeah it really, really sucks that some are falsely accused of sexual abuse but until there is a way to identify who is an abuser then the focus should be about protecting a child.

Would some of you be as comfortable is it was a 10yo niece, or a 10yo friend or how about a 10yo boy?
Would a creepy feeling be enough for a mandatory reporter? No. Not likely. Feelings, thoughts and hunches are simply not enough. And with good reason! People everywhere would be reporting everyone.

There are many other signs you can look for if you suspect sexual abuse. The FIRST thing I'd do is try to get to know the family. You can't very well see whats going on if you stay 5 houses away and only whisper about them to each other.

I agree, get involved! That doesn't mean get the authorities involved.
It means YOU.

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#77 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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Would a creepy feeling be enough for a mandatory reporter? No. Not likely. Feelings, thoughts and hunches are simply not enough. And with good reason! People everywhere would be reporting everyone.

There are many other signs you can look for if you suspect sexual abuse. The FIRST thing I'd do is try to get to know the family. You can't very well see whats going on if you stay 5 houses away and only whisper about them to each other.

I agree, get involved! That doesn't mean get the authorities involved.
It means YOU.
I would agree with you if it were other forms of abuse but how likely is it that she would see signs of sexual abuse. Can you explain the signs she could look for?
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#78 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Would a creepy feeling be enough for a mandatory reporter? No. Not likely. Feelings, thoughts and hunches are simply not enough. And with good reason! People everywhere would be reporting everyone.




Mandated Reporter here! And yes, I have been professionally trained that feelings and hunches *ARE* enough to make a report.
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#79 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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I'm thinking he is already "suspected" by the neighbors who were out that particular evening.
ITA. Everyone who witnessed the stepdad keeping the girl on his lap with his hands all over her and were creeped out by it are already going to keep their kids away from him. He's already brought on some legitimate concern because of HIS behavior.

Now, people may be mistaken and everything is fine, but the behavior that was witnessed is of legitimate concern as it stands.
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#80 of 248 Old 11-11-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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Mandated Reporter here! And yes, I have been professionally trained that feelings and hunches *ARE* enough to make a report.
Well where I was taught, and according to all the mandated reporters over my lifetime I've spoken with.. it is NOT. Perhaps we have different teachers or experiences.

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#81 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:00 AM
 
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Well where I was taught, and according to all the mandated reporters over my lifetime I've spoken with.. it is NOT. Perhaps we have different teachers or experiences.


I was taught that you do have to use your good judgment. Obviously if somebody is calling CPS every day w/ some suspicion, not only are they not a good mandated reporter, but won't be taken seriously at some point.

But yes, you can and should use your judgment to discern those "gray area" situations - and I think what is described in the OP is a perfect example.
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#82 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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I would agree with you if it were other forms of abuse but how likely is it that she would see signs of sexual abuse. Can you explain the signs she could look for?
Which is why I said to get involved. From the outside looking in you might not see much, but from a better vantage point you might see more that would either put her at ease, or warrant more immediate action.

Just google signs of sexual abuse and you can find a million websites. Some things are there now, sure. Like the possible isolation. But it could be that they're new, or that she's grounded, or that she has special needs. My point being, the family hasn't been around that long. Give them a chance to get to know them before condemning them. Its not as if you watched him molest the girl in front of you, or you watched him beat her. I know we all want to save children from horrible abuse, but sometimes there isn't any.

Where you see no harm in coming from calling CPS, I see great harm there. I would much rather be sure before I did something like that. However I would make every effort to get involved in their life. Being another pair of eyes won't hurt, and yet you'll be able to see more.

I had a neighbor a few years ago that I didn't like much. I didn't like her because she seemed like a horrible parent. She screamed at her kids. She spanked them. She was downright nasty to them sometimes. She didn't beat them or molest them, but many people would have called CPS on her if they heard her. Instead, I decided to befriend her. After friendship was established, I came to really like her. I realized she had no role model for parenting. A severe learning disorder kept her from learning about parenting in other ways like books or classes. She also had a mood disorder that wasn't being helped by having so many children so close in age.

I was able to be her friend and open up a dialouge about parenting. I was able to model parenting for her, and show her a gentler more respectful way. I was able to be honest with her and admit to her the times that I messed up, and how it made me feel. She was able to open up to me and trust me because she didn't feel judged.

Today, she's a better parent and a good friend. It was accomplished without CPS involvement.

No, its not sexual abuse. But you don't really know thats whats going on either. My point is, there are other ways to help.. especially if you aren't even sure.

A mandated reporter that sees children in a professional capacity maybe, obviously can't get personally involved with the clients like that. If they suspect, and have a strong reason to call CPS then they should. However we aren't talking about a professional capacity here. We're talking about neighbors. I believe that we can help out people if we just extend ourselves a little bit.

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#83 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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I'm doing some research, Nature, and looks like hunches and suspicions are reason to report. It says over and over again, "reasonable suspicion" and I remember in my training that they elaborated that not every person's idea of "reasonable suspicion" is the same, but if *you* think something is suspicious you should call.

http://www.capcsac.org/laws

"Reasonable Suspicion" occurs when "it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such a suspicion, when based upon the facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse." (California Penal Code 11166[a])


http://www.westchestergov.com/ptk/Mandated.htm

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/olrdata/j...002-r-0528.htm


http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/pub...ub1159text.asp
Reasonable Cause to Suspect
Reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment means that, based on your rational observations, professional training and experience, you have a suspicion that the parent or other person legally responsible for a child is responsible for harming that child or placing that child in imminent danger of harm.




ETA: Personally, I agree that calling CPS may do more harm than good. I'm not sure what the answer is, but just saying it is okay to call based on your good faith suspicions.
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#84 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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Nature,

I was sexually abused by several men when I was a child. There were no signs. I was happy, healthy and normal. I didn't even understand what was happening to me.

I appreciate what your saying but while your getting to know a family enough to decide if the stepdad is sexually abusing a child that child could be victimized over and over and over and over.

Isolation in itself wouldn't cause me concern of sexual abuse but the combination from the op case would be clear to me maybe something is not right.

I am very sorry about your history of sexual abuse
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#85 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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I never said I didn't see the harm in calling CPS. To me it is the lesser of two evils if a child is being abused.
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#86 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 12:56 AM
 
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I never said I didn't see the harm in calling CPS. To me it is the lesser of two evils if a child is being abused.
And thats kinda where the grey area comes in where you have to trust your own judgment. There is no doubt that the behavior is creepy. Being a survivor I often can "feel" creepy people like that based on nothing but that feeling. I trust intuition.

I only wanted to point out that its possible to help out without CPS. Or at least possible to get to know them further to see. Personally thats what I would do, but then.. I've been on the other side of the coin as well. I've seen how much damage CPS can do, even without substantiated abuse or neglect.

Basically, it just sucks all around. If the step father is gulity of it, its still going to cause major changes for the family. For the best of course. But then the child still has to deal with the impact of being abused. Provided that he's truelly guilty and not falsely accused.

However even if he's found not guilty, the family will most likely be traumatized by the investigation process itself. Its one of those situations where its hard to come out unscathed.

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#87 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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I can see either possibility, myself. Pedophile or protective.
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#88 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 08:55 AM
 
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legally innocent yes, but even an investigation would make him suspected and the recipient of uncomfortable stares
who do you think will invite the 'suspected child abuser' to the next barbecue? or let their kid have a sleepover at him house?
His actions are making him suspected and the recipient of uncomfortable stares. People are already thinking they don't want this guy around. and I doubt anyone would let their child sleep over.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#89 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 09:10 AM
 
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I would report it. I know CPS gets a bad rap around here, but it can do some good. Just be prepared with as much detail as you can (what you saw exactly, the address of where they live, a phone number if you have it, his name, the mom's name, the child's name.)


Can you tell I've done this before?


The more you can give them, the better.

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#90 of 248 Old 11-12-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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Why? Some step fathers are more involved than biological fathers, and some step fathers have been in the childs life for as long as they can remember. I realize this child has not known the step father for as long, but still. Thats a blanket statement that seems odd to me.
.
We're not talking about ALL stepfathers or ANY stepfather or anyone's husband or stepfather, we're talking about THIS PARTICULAR stepfather's behavior, which is raising red flags. Let's stay focused.

(And, some predators date or marry single mothers for the sole purpose of getting at the kids. I don't call those people fathers, though!)

Nextcommercial, I thought of two possible resources -- you could call a children's hospital and ask them for a the name of a good sexual abuse investigator or counselor, or call your district attorney's office and ask them for who they know who is an expert in this kind of thing.

I'd just say that you saw some behavior toward a child that raised red flags but that you want to get the advice of someone who is an expert as to what, if anything, should be done about it. Explain you don't want to cause a family trouble, but that you also don't want to dismiss your concerns without consulting someone who has a lot of experience in this area.
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