There was once a young father. He had a daughter who was the apple of his eye and the reason for the spring in his step. He had confidence in a better and brighter future because she was the vanguard of such.
Then, his four-year-old daughter became weepy and did not want to talk at home. This phase caused much consternation and went on for a week. After much jollying, our hero learned that an eleven-year-old boy in daycare/after-school care had molested her.
Details are sketchy, but I assume it was of the "Come here and pet my snake or I will kick your ass." variety of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). She knew it was wrong but the boy was mean and she was convinced that he would hurt her.
The issue was complicated by the fact that the after-school care was provided by a family member and the eleven-year-old boy was the girl's cousin.
The young father considered many options:
- Arranging fatal accident involving the eleven-year-old boy
- Reporting it to the authorities
- Reporting it to the day-care providers
- Reporting it to the boy's parents
- A stern talk with the boy
- Pulling his daughter out of that daycare
- Forgetting the entire incident happened
- Several people were damaged by the incident. The four-year-old daughter, the eleven-year-old boy, the father plus any other girls the boy may have been victimizing.
- They reframed the incident: You might be tempted to try to forget the incident because of the ages, but would you if they were 13-and-6, how about 15-and-8 or 17-and-10?
- The process in most jurisdictions is to adjudicate the minor perp and to get him "services". The adjudication process also clears a path for getting services for the other victims.
- Not only does the process "get" him services, it forces the parent(s) to blast through denial and it mandates that the parent(s) get their child to those services. "I don't wanna go." doesn't cut it
- Another thing the experts told the father were that the process has a great many checks-and-balances. Evidence is gathered. Stories are weighed against each other. People who do not have emotional investment are required to sort through the evidence and determine if CSC happened. In a word, professionals.
The father talked it through with his wife.
They decided, intellectually, that if the goal is to heal the victims and to actually help the perp, then not-reporting the incident to the legal authorities is not an option.
The father reported the incident to the proper authorities. Then he visited the boy's parents and informed them that they were about to be visited by CPS. Then he visited the people who provided daycare to tell them the same.
And he pulled his daughter out of that daycare.
A total shit-storm ensued
An elaborate dance occurred at family parties as the three major players lined up for time slots to ensure they were not present concurrently.
The parents of the eleven-year-old boy divorced five years later. Financial issues were one of the core issues triggering the divorce. Counseling is expensive. I suspect recriminations added gasoline to that fire.
The father was banished to sleeping on the couch in the living room because he had anger management issues. The juvenile adjudication process is opaque so he never had a sense of closure. He will be in counseling until the day he dies.
The four-year-old daughter is now a delightful young woman.
The eleven-year-old boy is married and it seems unlikely that he will ever have children.
The father knows in his heart that he did the right thing. And he would do it again without changing a single detail.
Adults do what must be done, regardless of the price.
One does what one must for THEIR children and those children's physical and mental health. Anything else is an abrogation of their parental responsibilities.ReplyDelete
Amen and amen. Following the attempted repair of damage to my family, would be concern for the child perpetrator.ReplyDelete
Finally would be any concern for the adults involved in raising the criminal.
Thanks, Joe for a thought inducing essay.
Thanks for reading and, especially, thanks for taking the time to comment.Delete
While it did not have an "everybody lived happily ever-after" ending it did result in the next generation having the best possible launch, all things considered.