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writeon
10-19-2005, 12:37 AM
Dear Herb Lady,

I'm writing a story about a woman who is devastated by her husband's abandonment and re-marriage to another woman, and who gets involved with a pedophile who abuses her 8-year-old daughter. Once she realizes what is going on she is appalled at herself for her blindness about what was happening to her daughter and at the pedophile for being one, which she never suspected. My question is -- would the mother be considered culpable in her daughter's abuse? Would she be at risk for losing custody of the child who was abused "on her watch?" What might the outcome of such a scenario be? I want the story to be authentic but don't have anyone to ask, and since you said you like to do research -- I am notoriously shy about asking "experts" I don't know for advice, something I know I must get over -- I'd appreciate any thoughts, insights, or information you might be able to share. Thanks so much!

Oh, if it matters, the story takes place in New York state.

Writeon

three seven
10-19-2005, 12:43 AM
Moved from Specialist Subject thread.

Aconite
10-19-2005, 01:07 AM
Writeon,

I doubt there is any one scenario that would be the most likely outcome. Much would depend on circumstances. For example, would the child's father sue for custody? Did the child's mother immediately remove her daughter from danger upon learning of the pedophile's actions, and file charges against him and get her daughter appropriate treatment? Does the child want to stay with her mother, or go to live with her father or someone else?

Good luck with your research.

writeon
10-19-2005, 06:39 PM
Writeon,

I doubt there is any one scenario that would be the most likely outcome. Much would depend on circumstances. For example, would the child's father sue for custody? Did the child's mother immediately remove her daughter from danger upon learning of the pedophile's actions, and file charges against him and get her daughter appropriate treatment? Does the child want to stay with her mother, or go to live with her father or someone else?

Good luck with your research.
Thanks, Aconite. Those are good questions and gave me some needed perspective.

ColoradoGuy
10-19-2005, 09:06 PM
would the mother be considered culpable in her daughter's abuse? Would she be at risk for losing custody of the child who was abused "on her watch?" What might the outcome of such a scenario be?


I get involved in the medical-legal aspects of about 2 abuse cases per year. In my experience, a great deal depends upon the opinions of the local DA regarding who is or is not at fault. This introduces an unfortunate component of randomness into how each case is handled. On the other hand, that gives you latitude in plotting your story.

rtilryarms
10-22-2005, 02:07 PM
This is an extremely complicated issue made even worse by the current witch hunt and frenzy of today.

Do not believe what you read in the papers.

first, paedophiles are not what you think. Very few of the sex abusers are paedophiles.
Sex crimes are a crime of power and opportunity.

Then there is politics....

The best research you will find will be if you google "eadvocate". There is a yahoo which has a link to thier website, ome is a home page and one deals with issues.
This site has the real scoop on things. It is tough reading but if you want to be accurate and want to do any writing at length, you will be studying for a while.

JohnJStephens
10-22-2005, 03:59 PM
first, paedophiles are not what you think. Very few of the sex abusers are paedophiles.Would you care to elaborate on this statement? If a person sexually abuses a child, doesn't that make him a paedophile?


Sex crimes are a crime of power and opportunity. Again, what precisely do you mean by this?


Then there is politics.... Again, what do you mean by this? Where does the politics come in?

Do you know how many people are wondering around the United States today with a criminal record for a sexual offence against a child? I don't. But I know the figure for the UK. I know, because I was told this figure by a disgruntled policeman. Why was he disgruntled? Because he was not allowed to reveal the true figure for fear that it would cause 'public unrest'. The last publicly available figures for the UK are for the year 1993. The number was 110,000. The year I had my conversation with a disgruntled policeman was in 2003. By then, the figure was 200,000. I leave it to you to extrapolate this figure for a US population (I think it is unlikely that the percentage of paedophiles is different in the US). And don't forget, these are HARD figures. Men (they are almost invariably men) who have been convicted for a sexual offence against a child.

Now, sure, many of these convictions will be internet-related offences. Ones where a child is 'not really abused.' But, just in case this is not absolutely clear, that child has been buggered, raped and abused somewhere in the world, all for the edification of Western men who get their pleasure masturbating in front of a computer screen.

These men are equally guilty.

Returning to my disgruntled policeman, what was most revealing was that fact that it was NOT the number of convictions which ws felt to be sensitive. The big worry was that journalists might ask ANOTHER question. The same question that they ask for any other crime. Namely, what is your detection and conviction rate? My policeman was quite clear on this. For sex crimes, the legal hurdles are enormous. They work on a detection and conviction rate of 10%.

Go figure.

ideagirl
10-22-2005, 09:19 PM
Aconite's comments are right on point: it depends what the mother does once she realizes what's going on, and on whether circumstances are such that she should have realized it earlier (would a hypothetical "reasonable person," knowing the mom's boyfriend and seeing how he behaves, knowing the daughter and seeing how she behaves [e.g. has she become withdrawn etc.], have put two and two together earlier than the mother did?). And it depends on the priorities of the local DA. And, of course, it depends on everything else about the mother--has Child & Family Services, or whatever it's called in your state, visited the home for other reasons before? Has the mother ever shown any signs of neglect or abuse or tolerating abuse of her daughter before (note, the ex-husband could try and fabricate evidence of this)? Does the mother lead some kind of alternative lifestyle (e.g., swinger's parties, a weird religion that makes her feed her daughter some wacko diet, weird home schooling, etc.) that might make the local legal system unsympathetic towards her?

What I would do in your shoes is search the web for news stories about families where a child has been abused (sexually or not) by the new partner of one of her parents, by someone whom one or both parents are friends with, or by someone the parent brings into the child's life in some other way (e.g. if the parent rents a room in their house and the boarder abuses the child). Ideally you'd find some of these in New York state, but even if you don't, the stories will still give you some idea of what the legal consequences are for a parent who gives an abuser access to their home and their child.

rtilryarms
10-23-2005, 05:43 PM
Would you care to elaborate on this statement? If a person sexually abuses a child, doesn't that make him a paedophile?

Again, what precisely do you mean by this?

Again, what do you mean by this? Where does the politics come in?

.

John, just look up the Eadvocate in my original response. All your answers are there.

JohnJStephens
10-24-2005, 06:15 PM
John, just look up the Eadvocate in my original response. All your answers are there.There are answers all right. But they are hardly uncontroversial. While the site includes a large amount of information, it can hardly claim to dispassionately present the different points of view, when discussing this extremely difficult topic. Not that this is necessarily a criticism. There are enough 'hang 'em up by the balls' sites, when discussing sex offenders.

Nevertheless, I tend to view such sites with extreme caution. I like to know the identities of the people and organizations behind such sites, and to its credit the site does not hide this. The home page contains a reference to L. Arthur M.Parrish, and 'L.A.M.P. Advocates A philanthropic advocacy fellowship'. Nevertheless, my extreme caution means that I would like to know more about these people, before relying on the contents of the site.

The site does contain statements with which I strongly disagree. But I am not an expert; my opinion is colored by the accounts of people who have had to deal with sexual offenses against children. While there is a range of opinions as to how paedophiles should be dealt with, there seems to be a general consensus about paedophiles themselves. They are extremely devious, they never stop, and there are far more of them than the general public think. And one police officer I spoke to summed it up perfectly. He has a major problem with juries. The problem being that they were generally honest, decent people. Which means that they are unable to appreciate what an adult human being is capable of doing to a child.

Shwebb
10-24-2005, 09:22 PM
Here's my tuppence . . .

A friend of mine is a psychologist, and until he went out of private practice, he used to specialize in counseling child sex offenders. His take was that the majority of the sex offenders (and he counseled those both in and out of prison) are not repeat offenders. (He wasn't a bleeding-heart liberal, either; he was just stating his own findings and comparing them to others around the country.)

The problem is that the ones who are repeat offenders are particularly heinous. There are sociopaths out there who will and do what the can to prey on kids.

JohnJStephens
10-24-2005, 10:33 PM
His take was that the majority of the sex offenders (and he counseled those both in and out of prison) are not repeat offenders.Interesting. This flies in the face of everything I have been told, by law enforcement. Do you know if 'his' sex offenders volunteered to receive counselling? Also, did he have access to each sex offender's rap sheet? And for how long did he counsel each sex offender, on average? And was he confident that he could tell when sex offenders were lying?

Shwebb
10-24-2005, 10:49 PM
Interesting. This flies in the face of everything I have been told, by law enforcement. Do you know if 'his' sex offenders volunteered to receive counselling? Also, did he have access to each sex offender's rap sheet? And for how long did he counsel each sex offender, on average? And was he confident that he could tell when sex offenders were lying?

I don't think all of the offenders he counseled were voluntary. And yes, he had access to their rap sheets; I don' know the length of time each offender was in counseling, and yes, he was pretty confident in his ability to tell when one was being honest and another was trying to bullsh*t him.

His information did not come from law enforcement, his information came from not only his own experiences in dealing with them but with other people who counseled and tracked sex offenders.

(I should note that never, ever did he think their behavior was defensible! But he could only state his own observations and that of his colleagues around the country who also specialized in this sort of counseling.)

Sorry I can't be of more help to you than that. I'd give you the guy's name, but he's since left his practice and has moved away; I've lost touch w/ him. (He left private practice only because the pay was too low for him to continue to live a meager existence AND pay his student loans back. But he worked as a therapist for, I think, about 15 years, so he wasn't new to the game.)

JohnJStephens
10-24-2005, 10:53 PM
Thanks, Schwebb.

rtilryarms
11-01-2005, 09:59 PM
I've been out due to the hurricane. I have researched this subject to the _nth degree.
Today's tendency to "Lump 'em all in" together is a political move to skew the statistics. The fact is that the majority of the RSO's are non-violent or same family offenders and present little or no harm to you or your family.
Eadvocate opines in favor of RSO's but thier facts are the only ones that hold any water if you research to the logical end.
Violent RSO's are the ones Megan's Law was made for. The current political frenzy is a scar on the poor girl's name.