He hit my kid. Someone talk me down.....

Last winter, the Bus Kid’s BF and her had a very brief altercation. She told me about it, and basically it involved her drinking too much, being kind of bitchy and trying to walk away. He responded by grabbing her wrists and not letting her get away til she calmed down. I was supremely pissed at the time, but she talked me down and gave me the crap about “he’s really not like that”.

Well, last week, he proved her wrong. The short story is that he didn’t like the way she was driving and punched her in the upper arm a dozen or so times while she was trying to drive. I just unloaded the following e-mail to the prick. The only factual lie I told him is how I found out. The truth is, she just up and told me bacause she’s scared of him.

Two things here, and maybe this belongs somewhere else, maybe IMHO, or GQ since I’m asking some questions of my smarter Doper friends:

  1. Am I under or over reacting? She knows I sent the e-mail to him, she approved and in fact asked for my help.
  2. She goes back to her last semester in Cuyahoga County, OH next month. What are my options for keeping her safe?

This is what I sent him (names changed to protect the Bus Kid):

About halfway through I just went on cruise control and forgot the basic rules of punctuation.

I understand your rage- but why on earth waste a moment of your time & energy on the guy- esecially why give him anything?

call the cops, it’s theirjob.
get the ppo.

I’d be careful with what you email; same lawyer might be able to argue that that was a threat. Which it was, and a well-deserved one, but we’re not living in an always-just world.

That was a great letter to write.

That was a horrible letter to send.

If jerk boy trips crossing the street, he is liable to claim you pushed him.

As noted, you have now made threats against him. That can be cause for legal action, and unless you have a video of him hitting your daughter, there is no way that I can see that you have a defense if he claims that your daughter got hit by some other guy whom she is protecting or if she fell into a table. To a jury of strangers, you can look like an overreactive father who is willing to kill someone on the basis of one story by your daughter.

You might want to enlist some legal counsel for yourself, at this point.

(And if you carried out any of your threats beyond those of reporting the act to the police and I found myself on your jury, I’m afraid that I would be voting to convict. I understand the rage, but we have the laws to prevent the implementation of personal vengeance with the probable escalation to blood feuds.)

IANAL, IANACop, but if you want a fresh order of humble opinion, you did the right thing, except for one thing, you should have told him to send you exactly one e-mail to confirm that he has received this message.

Yes, you’ve made threats, but I don’t know that it has risen to any level of harassment. Simply making these threats will never be enough grounds for a convitcion in the lack of other evidence that you’ve actually assaulted this guy, so I wouldn’t worry about it from a serious criminal standpoint. Again, IANAL. We’ll need a lawyer in this thread to inform us more fully.

Other than that, you made yourself explicitly clear about the situation. Perhaps he feel genuine contrition about what he’s done, but it doesn’t matter in terms of your daughter. What matters is that they are over and this little prick is never, ever going to contact her again.

Other than that, your options for keeping her safe are maintaining open communication with your daugter (which seems to be going well so far) and really encouraging her to look for a restraining order or other legal remedies with the police as well. Frankly, your letter will be the best shot at ending this right here, but if he does actually try to talk to her on campus, or worse, at her home, then you don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t want to be in a position to be trying to carry out some sort of vigilante justice.

Good luck and please update this with how it goes.

Dude, you are so potentially fucked if anything happens to that kid. I understand rage and I understand wanting to destroy him however by sending a letter that articulates this makes you the bad guy who cannot control his temper - the literary/verbal equivalent of what he was doing physically. Certainly, that’s how a lawyer would couch it if you found yourself on trial and the email was Exhibit A. Next time you blow up, save the email in the “Draft” file until you calm down.

I am a lawyer. I also volunteer for the domestic violence clinic in my county, so I have more than a passing familiarity with the issues you’ve presented. Although, I must warn you, these laws change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You might want to consult someone in your area. I will give this to you from a Georgia perspective so you’ll at least see how it can work.

First, your daughter probably has grounds to seek a protective order based on his act of violence and a history of the same (here in Georgia, the standard is “reasonable fear for safety of herself”). IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT SHE TELL HIM NEVER TO CONTACT HER AGAIN. Then, she should probably go to the domestic violence clinic (if there is one) of the county in which the BF resides, since the sheriffs of that county will be able to serve him with the temporary protective order (“TPO”), or its Ohio counterpart. These clinics are free and are not need-based (I’ve worked with very wealthy women who were afraid to contact the only lawyers they knew because those lawyers were friends of the abuser and/or ran in the same social circle and these women feel, unfortunately, the domestic violence carries a stigma of shame, even for the victim; truly sad). At the clinic she will be able to speak with someone who will help her get a TPO. Once that’s served on the BF, he’ll be restrained, but it’s temporary. There will be a hearing where the judge will consider the merits of your daughter’s complaint and, if fitting, a more permanent restraining order will be entered (in Georgia it would be effective for a year). Violation of the order is aggravated stalking, a felony. Remember, I’ve given you Georgia law, not Ohio law, but most states have similar programs in place.

Second, unfortunately, her BF might be able to seek a protective order against you for threats of violence. His case is certainly thinner. I suggest you refrain from contacting him, or perhaps send a short “look, I’m not going to hurt you but stay away from my kid or I’ll call the cops” follow-up. The email was a bad idea. Understandable, but a bad idea.

Hope this helps. I am sorry you have to deal with this. Please be careful and don’t get yourself in trouble.

Thanks to everyone so far, and yes I know I didn’t put myself in a great sutation.

In rssponse to that, while there are thingfs I’ve said that sond threatening, understand I’m 360 miles away. If he trips and falls, or gets hurt in a way that’s not related, he’s got a bnig uphilll battle to show I had anything to do with it. Understand I’m not playing coy here, I genuinely have n plans to see, visit ot take any action on the kid myself or through a third party.

If he calls the child about this, she is going to answer the phone once to say “don’t contact me again” and hang up. The message is clear to him.

wholebean, thanks for the advice. it’s right along the lines of what I hope she’ll do.

Last night when she was telling me this, I told her I wasn’t going to hurt the kid, because answering his violence with more is no way to answer this. And I won’t because the bottom line is that I know I have more to lose than he does.

I had a similar problem, although it didn’t involve physical abuse. It’s a long story, dating back to the late 80s, when my daughter was dating a guy in high school and got pregnant and had an abortion and blahblahblah. There were words amongst all and she didn’t want anything more to do with the guy, who was an emotional abuser.

Long story short, he kept tabs on her whereabouts and continued to try to contact her. I warned him off a couple of times, with limited success. The last time, however, was just a couple of years ago (can you say “obsessed”?). My daughter is now 32 and this guy is still stalking her. Now he’s married and has a kid that he named after my daughter! I went on line and found his address and sent a letter to his wife, with a copy to him, telling them that I would have a restraining order issued against him and have him arrested for stalking, if it didn’t stop immediately.

Short story. Physical threats never worked. Legal threats did.

Happy to help. There is one thing I forgot to write – after she tells him he’s have never to contact her again, she must also never attempt to contact him, not even through friends. One late night phone call, just to talk it out, and she’s dented her case severly.

I just looked at my last post.

I need to remember PREVIEW. And how to spell.

And thanks everyone again for the talking down.

I sent the follow up that whole bean suggested. Almost word-for-word in fact.

The kid took pictures that night and the next day of the bruising on her arm. She’s on the phone right now with a counselor at the prosecutor’s office in Ohio. Most of what she has to do she can do long distance, but we might be takikng a one-day trip this coming week.

What everyone else said. If your daughter has reached the age of majority, it is up to her to take steps to protect herself, with your support and advice, of course. She may want to talk to a counselor to help her sort it all out.

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but there is a very good chance she’ll go back to him (or someone like him). There is also the possibility that he’ll change. For the sake of your relationship with your daughter, you might want to consider these possibilities and how you’ll handle the situation should that happen. Best of luck to you.

It wouldn’t hurt to print off and save this thread.

Should something happen to this kid and he claimed it was you and produced your email to support that claim, you would at least have this thread as some sort of contemporaneous evidence that your threats were just blowing off steam.

Good luck, man. You sound like a good dad. Your daughter is a lucky kid.

Bookmarked. Good idea, thanks.

I don’t envy your position. Good luck with that.

This is a true story, mildly humorous, and maybe you’ll want to consider telling this to her next boyfriend early on. An ex-girlfriend’s father, upon meeting me and after the usual 3rd degree after his daughter left the room, leaned in close and said “I have guns. If you hear a click late at night, it’s not the lights,” then winked.

We wound up dating for 5 years (me and the daughter, I mean. Her dad and I never gave into the temptation.) and she never missed a curefew.

In high school I dated the daughter of a guy that played in the NFL for about 4 years. He was a lineman, and had hands that looked like lumps of flesh.

We got along great, but he once told me he had little or no feeling in his hands. Something to the effect that he could punch a brick wall all day and not feel a thing.

Same effect.

I’m afraid I agree with tomndebb 100% here. I REALLY wish you hadn’t sent it…

But hopefully it will go no further.

And Dad? I love you. You are an awesome guy. I know my Dad would do the same for me, and it makes me feel so great, even if I am 38 now!


It’s a little late for your situation, Mr Bus Guy, but it’s probably not a good idea to let bums like this know how sucessful they have been in their emotional destructiveness of the woman involved. They often really get off on that. All bullies like to see their victims cower in fear.

An attorney may correct me, but I believe that assault is the threat to attack and battery is the attack itself. (But that may be a “threat” under different circumstances than yours.) I could have it all wrong.

I’m not a lawyer either, but I think for a threat to rise to assault it has to be imminently possible. If I’m standing in front of you and say, “I’m going to punch you in the face,” it’s assault; if I’m 300 miles away and I say it over the phone it’s merely ill-advised.