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Do I tell?

(254 Posts)
StarryCole Tue 29-May-12 00:32:54

I have a moral dilemma. Please bear with me as I really need your strength to do the right thing. Last summer. We were at my PIL's house. Only family there and what I mean by this is my husband's parents and his siblings only. Summer BBQ. I felt it a safe environment. My son, aged 3.5, is very active, likes to run around the house and garden and playing with various members of family. I didn't think he was in any danger. I thought I knew my husband's family well, we had been together 8 years. I thought it was safe.

My husband's 15 year old brother, I will call him Alan, exposed himself to my son, It was an opportunist moment. My son alone in Alan's bedroom for a brief time.
We were all downstairs doing the family thing, it did cross my mind where my son was but I didn't think anything of it. Nor did my husband, whose brother it was. Imagine your son or daughter with your brother or sister, together playing alone in a room for the briefest of moments?.

Later on, my son told me Uncle Alan sat him on his bed. Uncle Alan pulled his trousers and underpants and exposed himself. My son told me this in enough detail and I was utterly shocked. It was enough for me to call the police.

Much emotional turmoil between myself, my husband and his parents. It was I that instigated the involvement with the police. Alan's parents were reluctant and very protective. They still are.

Co-incidentally, Alan was pulled up by the police on an seperate issue, at about the same time. The police was monitoring him because he was cruising websites of a NAPPY fetish nature and participating in 'chats' online. He came to the attention of the police as in one of the chats, Alan mentioned he had a toddler nephew, my son. My son was wearing nappies at the time. Till this day, I do not know the contents of the chats nor the actual sites he was on. I can only guess....

The police let Alan off with the privisio he does therapy. Alan being only 15 at the time, his mental state..the risks and being from a supportive home. The police do not view Alan as dangerous. Alan is back at school and living at home.

Fast forward 1 year to today, and my husband's other brother Roger (brother to Alan as well) and his wife announced they are expecting their first child.

My PIL's had sworn us to secrecy. Although we never promised to keep quiet if another member of the family had a child. It is both I and my husband's moral thinking, Roger and his wife ought to be told, to empower them to protect their child.

My PILs, particularly, my FIL has threatened me that if I said anything, 'a big thing would come between us' i.e., I would be ousted in their eyes. They don't deem Alan as dangerous and they don't want any 'trouble' least all by me, least of all as Alan is 'sitting his exams at the moment'. They are being very threatening and we had a heated and serious disagreement. They are extremely protective of Alan, being young impressionable and probably prone to depression.
Any mention of my son and I get 'he'll not remember in a few years', 'nothing worse happened, he's hardly been affected'.

I believe Roger and his wife ought to know for the right reasons. As a parent first and foremost and for the safety of their child. Roger and his wife are good people, very responsible. I'm sure they would understand and be mature about it, like we have been. Alan is a 'good boy' in every other respect and is taking therapy.

Both myself and my husband are being pressured and threatened by my ILs. I know my PILs will never forgive me in particular - even if I said and did nothing 'being the woman/wife'.

Please, let me know your views. What would you do? And imagine this in your own family. Your son/daughter and brother or sister.

Thank you.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 29-May-12 18:52:23

Tell. No question. If it turns out was a temporary aberration with Alan and your son, it is only his brother you are telling, but of course they need to know.

bishboschone Tue 29-May-12 19:00:51

I think it's really really odd that a 15 year old has exposed himself to a toddler boy .. Is he a normal boy in other ways .. I. E not special needs or anything ? Did he understand what he was doing? If so he sounds potentially very dangerous ( please note , I am not a hysterical type , I just find it really odd that a 15 yr old would do this .

bishboschone Tue 29-May-12 19:03:57

Ps , yes tell them . I had an uncle who was very keen on tickling . Harmless enough but it was too much if you see what I mean . When I was around 18 and we were alone he said to me '' if I were you get I would take you over there and rape you '' ... Yes his exact words . I never spoke to him again and told all other family members to never leave their children alone with him . I never told then the reason but made it obvious he was dangerous . I would never forgive myself if he did something inappropriate and I hadn't spoken to them .

itdoesnthurttohavemanners Tue 29-May-12 19:07:11

You have to tell.

Being nosey, but does he have any SEN issues this younger brother? It does sound otherwise like a VERY concerning thing for a nonSEN child to do...

Regardless. Tell them. Secrets like this cannot be kept.

LoopyLoopsCorgiPoops Tue 29-May-12 19:12:35

Also don't think it's really a dilemma. You have to tell them.

Lose the PIL, they sound toxic.

I would tell. But also, "Alan", is probably not a pedophile and the chances are good that it was a one off, part of sexually developing. With help and growing up he may be as baffled as us as to why he did it. However there is a small chance that he is sexually aroused by small children, and therefore it seems more than reasonable to tell his own brother the facts.

ghosteditor Tue 29-May-12 19:18:41

I think they absolutely have to be told; you now have to figure out the most appropriate way of doing it. I think it's sensible for your DH to tell them, but I think you should be prepared for your PILS to blame that decision on you anyway.

Whether or not Alan is in therapy and now realises his inappropriate behaviour, he showed exceptionally poor judgement and should not be left alone with a child. It's up to your brother in law and his wife to decide how it will affect their relationship with Alan - but they have to know!

Keep us updated on how it pans out!

Slambang Tue 29-May-12 19:19:21

Agree tell.

Dh must tell them. You don't need to say anything. If he feels the need to, he can say to Roger don't let the parents know I've spoken to you. If it was me I'd have a chat with SIL as well and just warn her never ever leave Alan alone with the baby especially not allowing him to change nappies.

Is he a paedophile or has paedophile tendencies - well what's the difference really? Can therapy help? Yes. But not certainly enough to ever let Alan be trusted with a child.

eatyourveg Tue 29-May-12 19:23:55

Tell. Presumably the PIL have not mentioned to Alan's own siblings that he is receiving therapy. Why not? Most siblings would want to support their own brother, he obviously needs help and by your BIL not being informed of the situation, their baby is knowingly being put at risk potentially.

DogEared Tue 29-May-12 19:31:49

Your DH must tell.
Also, I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry that you've been put in this horrible situation. sad It must be so difficult for you. Your priority is your son but this is your husband's brother... I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you to see your brother-in-law.

Springforward Tue 29-May-12 19:35:46

Tell them, Alan should not be left alone with young children, therapy or not.

Heyyyho Tue 29-May-12 19:52:49

This boy/man sounds seriously disturbed. He should not be around children.

Absolutely 100% tell them. They have a right to protect their child.
PIL sound awful, really in denial about such a serious matter.

EddieIzzardIsMine Tue 29-May-12 20:01:23

Rare I've seen a thread where everyone is in absolute agreement

But I'll add to it with in your non-enviable position, yes I'd tell them/support DH telling them too

SweetGrapes Tue 29-May-12 20:16:56

Absolutely tell. Just think if something hapenned...

PIL are not thinking straight. They are effectively putting gc in potential danger.

feedthegoat Tue 29-May-12 21:19:28

Unfortunately I can imagine this in my family as I have had a similar (though different to yours) situation to deal with. I have name changed to an old name i no longer use as this outs me to anyone who knows us.

Dh's brother was arrested on child porn charges. He was suspended from his job (primary teacher). Dh told his family that his brother could not see our dc until we knew what had happened and they reacted pretty much like yours.

Our lives were made hell for the 2 years he was on bail and later remand and we have repeatedly been told that us and only us are responsible for the entire situation. He is now in prison for a number of years (porn and grooming charges) and pil still state he poses no threat to our dc and should be allowed a normal relationship and we are utterly in the wrong. I hasten to add that we weren't hysterical and didn't demand that anyone else should do the same or scream for blood, we just didn't want him in contact with our child. We still feel this is the appropriate and correct response.

We tried to keep contact with dc for a while but they did it a couple of time a year and used it as another opportunity to list our 'crimes'. Some of the things they have said about us and in particular my family who have done and said absolutely nothing are now beyond forgiveness for me. As cannot trust them not to say things to dc (they have said things in past), be even civil to us or use my dc to prove they trust their son then we are are no longer in contact at all.

The whole thing has been a nightmare but we've both said we've done the only thing we could. I know how you feel (and want to send you a hug, I've needed plenety in the last few years!) but think you know what you should do. Just be aware what it may cost and be prepared.

Floggingmolly Tue 29-May-12 21:22:41

Tell them. Where does your DH stand on this?

Killergerbil Tue 29-May-12 21:25:27

You know that you have to tell them, if the roles reversed - you would need them to tell you

Mama1980 Tue 29-May-12 21:28:10

Tell them you'd never forgive yourself of you didn't and something happened and they'd never forgive you. One off or not they need to be told. Protecting a child is more important than any consequences.

StarryCole Tue 29-May-12 22:54:11

Thank you all for your responses. My husband agrees full disclosure to his brother Roger but requested he handles this himself and will wait until after Alan completed his exams and after Roger's baby arrives (in November).

I'm preparing myself for the massive backlash to come from my PILs and know it will be me, not my husband as the scapegoat here since it has always been to me wanting to put things on the record and demanded this reported to the police in the first place. I'm hoping we can all be mature about this but in anycase, I think my relationship with PILs is irreversibly damaged now (in their eyes).

Also, I believe my DH's family will completely close ranks on this. I have no confidence I would have been told should the situation be reversed as my PILs are completely overbearing over the rest of DH's siblings and would do their best to cover up.

To look at Alan he is a quiet, sensitive boy with normal friends and no special needs. It pulled the rug underneath our feet. Then we found out as I mentioned earlier, police were monitoring him for months cruising nappy fetish websites and participating in chatrooms. These websites inevitably containing pictures or access to resources of young babies.

To 'Feedthegoat', thank you for sharing your story. I imagine your BIL is much older than Alan. Did either your husband or yourself have any inkling about sexual orientation or tendancies? Did his family have no clue whatsoever? I'm interested to know more about your BIL if it can helpme understand my BIL!!

Thanks for your posts everyone. I feel a lot of support from you.

StarryCole Wed 30-May-12 11:57:19

OK, update on my previous post My DH had a chat with his parents last night. and the results of my and DH discussion since are as follows:

1) Both ILs and DH TRULLY believe there is no danger to children since Alan still lives at home with his parents and believes his parents can adequately supervise Alan and any children at their house at all times. I quote from DH & IL 'Until Alan has his own means of transport/leaves home and cannot be monitored, that is when we should tell other family with kids (namely Roger in the immediate term). Same with Alan being at Roger's house who will ALWAYS have ILs present. (!)

2) DH has read THIS thread. He is not angry but believes the Mumsnet audience would NEVER post a contrary opinion to every one who has replied here because it would not be deemed socially acceptable (and so far you have ALL agreed). (!!)

3) DH & ILs would like to 'tell later' should there be an event/time/situation that warrants it - maybe in 4 or 5 years time when kids are grown up (sorry I don't get that at all) but basically it seems to give Alan a chance to 'get on with his own life and go to college' and 'let Alan prove himself' and anyway, in their opinion the risk is so low nothing will happen anyway. (!!!)

4) DH & ILs view Alan as a 'suicide risk', prone to depression, suffer from his school exams etc...if we OUT the secret now.

My DH wants us and the ILs (his parents) to discuss a plan of action and not do anything rash. My DH also wants us to seek an expert opinion (i.e., the therapist working with Alan) to help us shape future discussions and action.

I feel the goalposts are being moved.

I AM THE ONLY ONE that believes Roger and his wife have a right to know NOW as they are already parents to their unborn child.

Given ALL the facts of this case, what happened last year to my son, Roger's 'delicate frame of mind', relationship with DH and his family. Given all that I am putting on the line here, would YOU as my SIL/ BIL expecting a baby, STILL WANT TO KNOW AND WHEN?

Not know at all given that the likelyhood of anything bad to your DS or DD is remote? But still a risk? However remote? Would you want to be empowered with that knowledge? Would you feel upset your ILs or Parents or brother deliberately held such information from you??

smalltown Wed 30-May-12 12:09:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mistlethrush Wed 30-May-12 12:09:34

Given the whole family was round him (ie he was in the house with lots of family visiting) when he exposed himself last time, how on earth are things going to be different for a new child? What do your PiL want? Do they want another grandchild affected by this? What happens if its not just exposure the second time? What sort of help is Alan getting and what is the feedback from any therapists that have been brought in to help?

Of course you're not being over the top with what you're saying - they need to know so that they can put appropriate boundaries in place for their child. It is not your fault that Alan exposed himself to your son, but you would be caught up with the blame and guilt if it happens to your DN.

Whatnamethistime Wed 30-May-12 12:18:05

Ok - tell - and dh that's not because it's the Mumsnet "massive" there is NEVER a thread where every one agrees.

StarryCole Wed 30-May-12 12:19:57

Mistlethrush - Thanks for your response. What does my PIL want? They want me to keep my mouth shut and completely wrap this up and put a lock on it. Alan is getting professional counselling but I've not had the opportunity to speak to this person and even if this professional is even allowed to speak to me (patient confidentiality).

I am going to meet with my ILs very soon to have a discussion but the pressure is very great to 'toe the line'. And goal posts are being moved, everyone wants me to agree 'Don't say anything now, say something maybe later when our DC are older'.

Heyyyho Wed 30-May-12 12:20:53

oh dear.

Tell them in 5 years time confused. They need to know now their child/ children will be non verbal when potentially around Alan. The fact that they said this is VERY disturbing to me.

I would bear in mind people with "problems" such as Alan are never cured. Really he is extremely disordered and potentially v dangerous man.

Btw what was the "separate issue" the police pulled him up for?

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