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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.

DoingItForMyself Wed 30-May-12 12:22:43

Can't quite see the logic of waiting until Roger's child is 4 or 5 before telling him, if Alan's fetish involves nappies/babies - your DS was 3.5 when Alan exposed himself to him, therefore if you wait until Roger's child is 4 or 5 (s)he will already be older than the age at which your poor DS was abused.

As someone whose parents allowed her to stay overnight/bath at the house of a relative who was a known paedophile (sp?) I can only say that if I were Roger's child and I found out later that you could have prevented me being abused by speaking out, but didn't so as not to offend anyone, I would hold you & your DH/PILs partly responsible.

You know what the right thing is here, you just don't want to rock the boat. I know it will be hard but the PILs sounds like PITAs and I would be happy to lose them, even if DH maintains contact on his own. Sorry, I know its harsh.

DoingItForMyself Wed 30-May-12 12:24:21

And I agree I've never seen a thread where EVERY person agrees. Never.

cheesesarnie Wed 30-May-12 12:28:18

1) unless they can be with him 24 hours a day or never comes into contact with another child its impossible and stupid.
2) people on mn NEVER agree!but this is a child!
3) what if 4 or 5 years is too late?could you forgive yourself?
4) he needs to see someone about that, you cant walk on egg shells just incase.

i just dont get your pil?yes this is their son but what about the other 2 sons and what about the grandchildren?

what contact have you had since this incident?

bishboschone Wed 30-May-12 12:29:47

Why does Alan need to know they know though? Just tell roger not to let the child be alone with Alan . Alan doesn't need to know roger knows anything.

mistlethrush Wed 30-May-12 12:30:19

My 'what do PiL want' was hmm rather than anything else - they clearly just want to sweep it under the carpet and wait for another grandchild to be abused. Then let you and your DH share some of the blame.

bishboschone Wed 30-May-12 12:31:36

Weird response from parents too. If Alan were my child I would kick him to the kerb . ! Im still shocked that a 15 year old boy is Perusing chat rooms about nappy fetishes sad.

pumpkinsweetie Wed 30-May-12 12:38:11

I would tell them, this Alan sounds like an extremely unsavoury character that imo should not be allowed near children and everything must be done to keep him away from kids & babies.
What he did was wrong on a high level considering he was 15!!
I cannot believe what your pils are doing!- they are going to be putting a newborn at risk from a sexual predator all because they want to brush it under the carpet.
I wouldn't worry about the threats, who wants to know people that are hiding such a discusting secret, not to mention what the police held him up for the last time either.
Your niece or nephew should take priority over their sordid lies!-if he has been looking up websites aswell god knows what his next move might be, please tell your bil & sil asap

hillsidemansion Wed 30-May-12 12:39:41


1950sHousewife Wed 30-May-12 12:42:36

I agree, I've never seen complete agreement on MN, this thread is unusual. You can take a cut and dried subject like the balloon launch thread and there will always be someone who says something contrary. Just show threads like that to your DH. We are not the borg on here.

Personally, I don't think that telling an older brother will be an unloving thing to do. Alan is a child. He needs support and care. He needs help. Supressing all this into a 'Massive Family Secret' won't be good for him either. Surely if your DH can cope with what Alan did to your son, can still love him and hope for the future that he will 'get better' then it will be the same for his older brother.

Loving someone means that you can accept their flaws (mainly, of course there are limits) and love and want to help them anyway. It means that your BIL will have control over family occasions. It means that Alan can still be part of it all.

Do they all have such a low opinion of your BIL and his ability to handle this information in a loving way?
It's not like you would be posting flyers around the neighbourhood...

Sarcalogos Wed 30-May-12 12:48:04

Tell. You just have to, however hard other people make it for you. You owe it to everyone involved, even if they can't see that.

Remember you only know what you know, it is possible that there is more to all this and your PILs have kept it from you. They don't sound as if they can be relied upon to tell you everything. They seem intent to normalise this.

Maybe get your DH to ring the nspcc or similar for advice, he might trust them more than us.

GladbagsAndYourHandrags Wed 30-May-12 12:50:40

I'd tell the expectant parents, and quite frankly couldn't care less what sort of relationship I had with PIL after that. What is wrong with them? They are SO intent on burying it under the carpet. I hate to ask but do you think Alan could have been abused?

hillsidemansion Wed 30-May-12 12:53:15

Many years ago my company had employed a young sales man, in his early twenties. We were running surveil lance software on every pc in the company, logging everything the employees did online. We were especially targeting chat room activity as this was against the PC Usage policy.

We hardly ever reviewed the logs, but certain usage were flagged up and the logs put in a quarantine. To tell the truth, I did not know such chat rooms even existed. But this young man spent his lunch hours chatting to other young like minded boys and men. He was talking about his little sister. (He was living with his mum and half sister) And how much he loved giving his sister a bath, and especially what a treat it was if the little girl had play dates. He said he was so privileged to have young girls "on tap". It was sickening.

What I found out through researching the topic, was that most pae do files are "formed" during puberty, and most are formed by the age of 18. Very often it starts with younger family members and friends, and very often, with children just a few years younger than themselves, and then they get "stuck" liking children aged 12/13 rather than people their own ages as they mature.

I think a lot of youngsters experiment, some with nappies even, without it ever turning into anything sinister. But this boy, is already in therapy, and there has been more than once incident.

In my opinion, it will help nobody to brush this under the carpet. The young lad needs help and support, and family, he is not a monster, he might become one, but today he might just be young and misguided and with love and support MAYBE he will outgrow this. But, you need to protect babies. And there should not be secrecy about this.

SingingfortheMoon Wed 30-May-12 12:58:02

Are the parents planning to follow Alan or the children for every second of any visit? I can't see how this would work. It only took him a few minutes to expose himself to your son so in the time they take to realise that Alan and one of the children are not in the room - easy enough to lose track of people at big family events - then he could have done it again. Is that what they mean by an event that warrants telling?! To me it sounds like they're waiting until he does something again or something worse before taking action.

Also, they say he is a suicide risk and worry about his future etc. so surely the PIL would worry about following him all the time when children are present, or keeping children away from him, might affect his self-esteem. I wouldn't trust them to actually keep to this plan.

This does not sound like a normal part of growing up. It is good that he is having therapy and he may well go on to lead a perfectly normal life, but he has already done something terrible and there is a chance that he could do it again.

I think you need to try and convince your husband that you should share this information with Roger and his wife. If you cannot convince your husband then perhaps you could have a word with Roger or his wife and explain the situation, and that PIL and your DH do not see Alan as a risk anymore, but that they should just be a little wary of leaving their child at PIL house - I personally wouldn't trust PIL with a child alone if Alan were there as they sound too trusting and willing to believe he won't do anything again, and so might pop to the corner shop or something leaving Alan in charge of baby.

It's not just the incident with your son, the website history shows that it was an ongoing thing prior to that. The nappy thing means perhaps he is interested in babies too so I think it would be best to warn them before the baby is born.

Hopefully Roger and his wife will be able to take this all on board and there's no need for them to tell PIL or Alan that they know about the incident, or for you to tell PIL that you have spoken to Roger and his wife.

NorbertDentressangle Wed 30-May-12 13:02:35

Stuff what the ILs say -Roger and his wife should be told.

MousyMouse Wed 30-May-12 13:03:58

do tell. will cause uproar, but also relief.

babylann Wed 30-May-12 13:06:48

I agree, tell them. I would not care about losing relationship with PILs if it meant putting a child in a safer place where sexual abuse is concerned.

Out of curiosity, what does your husband think about all of it?

InstructionsToTheDouble Wed 30-May-12 13:07:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

SweetGrapes Wed 30-May-12 13:11:42

It's a nappy fetish. I would like to know while my child was still in nappies thank you very much. Not 4-5 years later when they have grown up and are no longer in nappies anyway.

Supervision - who are they kidding??? With your ds you were all there, right? Who prevented anything from happening?

At that point presumably your IL's knew about this and he was under supervision at that point too. it's happened once, it can happen again. What about a large Christmas family gathering? Who's doing the cooking and entertaining and who is supervising a grown lad for every single minute? My dd has sen and I have to supervise her all the time. Physically impossible.

Socially unacceptable to disagree on MN??? shock. Doesn't he know we are a nest of vipers?
There is only one more thread I have read on here where there was complete agreement (been here 6 years or so) and that was where the DM had a BF who was a CSO and she (the dm) was convinced it was the girls fault (her bf was entrapped by 13-14 yr old girls hmm) and wanted to have 11-12 year old grand daughters to stay the night with her and her bf/lodger.
Again complete agreement on MN to break off with mum. Childs safety comes first.

mistlethrush Wed 30-May-12 13:13:19

StarryCole - I would like to know what your DH proposes to say to his brother when Alan exposes himself to your new DN (or worse).

JaxTellerIsMyFriend Wed 30-May-12 13:13:22

OP, this 'sweeping under the carpet' by adults is the sole reason that someone in my family went on to sexually assault various children in the family. Please dont allow yourself to be bullied into saying nothing. sad

Maybe Alan will grow up to be a fine, upstanding person - but 2 incidents so far. Not 1 but 2 and he is only 15.

This boy did this when you, your husband and your ILs were in the house. No way would I be visiting with my child EVER if that was the ILs stance.

And your husband needs to realise that his brother has some very VERY serious issues regarding children. By all means speak to a sexual therapist regarding this or a child psychologist but I imagine they will tell you to keep your child safe.

NimpyWindowmash Wed 30-May-12 13:13:35

I must disagree with an earlier poster who said "I would bear in mind people with "problems" such as Alan are never cured. Really he is extremely disordered and potentially v dangerous man."

At 15 the personality is not fully developed, so although there is potential for a disordered personality as an adult, this is not a forgone conclusion.

However, I do agree that the morally correct thing to do is to tell BIL and SIL. Why such a big deal? The PILs don't need to know. Alan doesn't need to know. Just a quiet word.

babylann Wed 30-May-12 13:14:31

Sorry, have just noticed your previous post about your DH's thoughts.

Elephantsteaparty Wed 30-May-12 13:32:50

What was your DH's reaction to the incident at the time? I presume he was as shocked and unhappy about it as you were, and wished it hadn't happened. Correct?

In which case, ask him what he'd feel if the positions were changed between him and Roger, ie if Roger's child had been molested but the family were told not to tell you and your DH until your child is 5. How would he feel then? And how would he feel if the same thing happened to your child, but you could have prevented it if you'd been told the facts?

Would love to know what his answer is.

Wheezo Wed 30-May-12 13:46:23

So sorry for you OP that your DH is taking this view. Is he always controlled by his parents like this? I just can't understand why any decent loving parent would have their child within a 5 mile radius of a person who has a sexual preference for children wearing nappies and has exposed himself ALREADY to their child. Can you imagine your child finding out that daddy didn't want to upset granny and grandad so that's why he had to endure the strange visits to them being followed from room to room by Alan with the rest of the family trailing behind. Plus if I was Roger and discovered that this had been kept secret from me, preventing me from protecting my own children when everyone else in the family circle was aware and able to protect their children, I'd be fucking furious and would not be interested in spending time with them at all int efuture regardless of whether Alan is under 24 hour surveillance or not. Alan will have future brushes with the law over his 'sexual orientation' and this nasty can of worms won't remain closed.

If Alan had physically assaulted your son in a non-sexual way would your DH feel more comfortable about standing up for his child? Is it the sexual aspect of the assault that is preventing him from protecting his child?

60 years ago someone took a similar decision in my mum's family leading to my mum being raped from the age of 6 (she says it could be earlier but can't remember much further back and doesn't want to) to the age of 9 when she broke down and told her younger brother (who was 7) who vowed to protect her and never left her side when they were at the rest of the family's homes (the rapist was a younger brother of my mum's mum who was babied by the parents in preference to protecting their GCs - v similar age and set up to this) - we don't have any contact whatsoever with that side of the family for obvious reasons.

Heyyyho Wed 30-May-12 13:51:31

it's really so odd the PIL are saying they will tell in 4 years or so - when they children at risk will be out of nappies.

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