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Suspect abuser, don't know what to do

28 replies

aviation · 06/11/2009 23:27

Tricky and sensitive one. Some guy I met a couple of times many years ago has moved into my local area. I recently mentioned this to a friend, I said I had seen him about. My friend then told me that she heard he sexually abused his own son. He never got 'officially' accused, (that I know of, I don't think the son even accused him of it, but I really don't know much about the guy) but through circles of friends it seems to be widely known that he did do this horrible deed.
I have seen him walking around the area holding hands with a very young girl (about 8 yrs old) that evidently is his landladys daughter, who he looks after.

I would hate to think he could be abusing this girl and I might have been able to stop it/alerted the mother. But what can I do? I could be way off the mark. I don't know where he lives or anything about him.

Before I knew all this I never liked the guy, he is very creepy so it makes me think its entirely possible he could do something like this.

Also, he could be completely innocent - I don't know the people who apparently 'witnessed' the abuse - its through friends of friends. But, for all I know, it could be a rumour made up by someone who hated him for some other reason. Sick I know.

What to do?
(I've name changed for this one)

OP posts:
positiveattitudeonly · 07/11/2009 08:05

I am prepared to be totally flamed on here for this post.

I would really think carefully before you say anything. I know any child needs protection and I have 5 DCs myself so understand that wholly, BUT a friends husband was accused of something a few years ago and he lost his very well paid job. He then committed suicide because he knew he would never shake off the name of sexual abuser. After his death the young lad who had accused him announced that it had been a lie because he simply did not like him! So many lives have now been totally ruined.

If you haven't got any evidence other than a conversation with a friend of a friend about something that may have happened I would be very careful.

GunpowderTreasonAndDragons · 07/11/2009 08:08

So, you basically are thinking about spreading gossip about someone? Someone who you "really don't know much about" and where he was never officially accused of anything at all?

SixtyFootDoll · 07/11/2009 08:17

I think you should get yor facts right before you do anything

sherby · 07/11/2009 08:22

In these circumstances cant you telephone the police and tell them your concerns. Aren't you allowed to check these things now?

I don't see why that would equal everybody knowing about him, you don't need to tell anyon else and I don't think the police are gong to be spreading rumours.

I would telephone and say, I was under the impression that this man may have a history of child abuse or whatever and I am concerned about the protection of x girl. If you have got it wrong nothing will come of it, if you haven't then good for the girl.

sherby · 07/11/2009 08:25

FWIW I think people would be surprised at who often things like this go on.

I was aware from an old job I had that a man in our area was classed a v dangerous sexually to children. A few years after leaving work I saw him dressed up as a teddy bear on the high street collecting money for children in need . He does the same thing every year. I didn't do anything about it because I think that the actual risk he posed to any child was zero. But I did think where the fuck are the child protection people who were supposed to be monitering his exposure to children

HerBoomWhizzBangitude · 07/11/2009 08:26

She is not "basically thinking of spreading gossip about someone". She's asking for advice about how to handle a tricky situation.

If someone tells you someone else is a child abuser, it's not something you can ignore, particularly when you know he is in constant contact with a child. The OP has acknowledged that he may be innocent and is asking for advice. I don't really think it's v. helpful to come on and accuse her of merely spreading gossip, the tone of her OP doesn't justify that IMO.

Sorry OP I haven't got any advice for you, I have no idea what I would do in your situation but I hope you get some good advice on here.

peanutbutterkid · 07/11/2009 08:31

Do you know the landlady (mother of the 8yo child)? Could you engineer a chat with her along the lines of..
"I see X has become your live-in babysitter! That Must be handy, How do you know him?"
"Is he good with kids? Does he have experience looking after children?"
"Oh yes, I remember, I think he has a son of his own, doesn't he? Must be hard not living with his own son."
"Do you just trust your own judgement about whether you can trust somebody to look after your kids? I never know who I can safely leave my kids with, you hear such awful stories nowadays."

Make it sound like you're asking her advice, but actually you're sussing out whether she's likely got a better idea of who he is and whether he's a risk to her DD and what the terms are, etc. Because I agree with others, false accusations ruin innocent lives.

edam · 07/11/2009 08:33

It's very difficult because you don't have any facts to go on. Think I'd call the NSPCC and ask for their advice.

MaryMotherOfCheeses · 07/11/2009 08:40

I hope you don't get flamed. You sound concerned for both the child and the guy.

don't have any advice for you though. You say he's moved to your area. Are you the only person locally who would know him? Hopefully not, because at this stage I think all you can do is keep eyes and ears open. (sorry to make it sound a bit spy-ish) but I dont' think you can do any more.

aviation · 07/11/2009 14:25

Thanks, yes EDAM I think I might ring the NSPCC and ask them.
No, I don't know the mother at all, I don't even know her name, or what she looks like. None of my local friends would know about this guy and I wouldn't tell anyone else unless I was sure. I'm not one to spread gossip on a whim. But as HerBoom says, once you are told something like this, it's not easy to ignore it. Its VERY easy to forget about it and not get involved, and sadly that's how most abusers get away with it and go on to abuse more.
I guess the next step is to ask my friend more questions, but the people she knows (the 'witnesses') live in another region of the country. I stress I would have to be really sure of facts before I did anything as many of you have said it can ruin LOTS of peoples lives, not just the accused.

I do wonder why none of my friends friends (the alleged "witnesses") did not say anything to any authorities at the time, or perhaps they did, but its passed so many years that it falls off the records and was in another part of the country. Not sure how these child protection things work, is there a list of sorts that tells you of an abuser in your area that I can access?

OP posts:
LaDiDaDi · 07/11/2009 14:29

If you know that man's full name then I think that ringing the police isn't actually that bad an idea. If there is a history around this man like you know then it seems likely that the police will know about it and would be able to discuss it with the landlady.

LeninGuido · 07/11/2009 14:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

peanutbutterkid · 07/11/2009 15:17

I'm surprised about that school cleaner with a sexual offenses conviction... off top of my head I thought that it's usually a crime for sex offenders (people on the SOR, anyway) to work with or near vulnerable people; it's a crime if they even apply for the job. So it's a huge risk to them to even try to get a job like that.

aviation · 07/11/2009 15:17

Don't know full name, but I can easily find out. I was wondering the same about anywhere to check convictions - is there a database to check on? I don't think he was ever convicted or investigated - but I can't be sure. Its worth a look though if there are such records accessible.

OP posts:
LeninGuido · 07/11/2009 15:19

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

peanutbutterkid · 07/11/2009 15:19

I think the mum of the child could ask the police to check if her lodger was on the SOR, but you can't search for it. If he was only investigated but never convicted, he wouldn't be on the SOR, anyway.

LeninGuido · 07/11/2009 15:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BitOfFun · 07/11/2009 15:26

I would be very careful. Just speaking to the police could mean a note goes against his name which will show up on a CRB check- hardly fair if there is no substance to the allegations. I would have a sniff round what these people are basing their gossip on first.

HeSaysSheSays · 07/11/2009 15:27

You need proper advice, people don't usually "witness" sexual abuse, as it tends to happen behind closed doors - making me a bit suspicious about how much the original occurance may have been inflamed (as is the nature of these things, gossip or not).

I agree with the above poster, call the NSPCC and tell them everything you know then go from there.

Bear in mind that finding someone creepy means nothing on its own.

foxinsocks · 07/11/2009 15:30

I called the police when something like this happened

I told them I didn't really know if this person had been charged (for something that had happened in the past) but they put me through to the child protection team .

I heard nothing

and then a month or so later I got a call thanking me and that it had resulted in someone being stopped teaching in a school. They weren't allowed to tell me what had happened and it turned out he hadn't been charged BUT they had looked at his record and he had something (couldn't tell me what) that meant he should have failed a CRB.

call the police, give his full name and let them do their job

foxinsocks · 07/11/2009 15:35

(I mean he hadn't been charged for the event I knew about - not sure what else he'd been up to but obviously something!)

yes, nspcc a good idea too

SixtyFootDoll · 07/11/2009 15:46

Ring Social services
If this man doesn't have convictions the Police cannot do a lot ( as he wont be a registered sex offender)
Social services have more powers in this scenario, they will have a record if this man was investigated and they are able to liase with the mother of the girl if your concerns are true.

MaggieMonday · 07/11/2009 15:51

Maybe the NSPCC could ring the child's mother and find out if there IS any truth to this story.

LeninGuido · 07/11/2009 15:54

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aviation · 07/11/2009 16:00

Think NSPCC will be the first stop, see what they say. I would rather keep his name anonymous until I am more sure of the sources of the information. Telling the police/social services just seems like it could tarnish his name if he was innocent. For all I know his relocation to a new area could be for an innocent reason, or something more sinister.

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