This post is partly a FYI follow-up to two previous threads (see below), and also looking for advice or opinions on the situation.
Very brief summary version: My boyfriend “Greg” has 3 children with his ex-wife “Susan.” Susan is remarried to a man I’ll call “Stepfather.” Stepfather pleaded no contest to child molestation charges involving an unrelated 13-year-old girl, and will be sentenced in a month. This is a felony and requires lifelong sex offender registration. What should Greg do?
Long detailed version: Greg and Susan have been divorced for more than 5 years. Greg & Susan’s kids are 13, 11 and 9, and Susan has primary physical custody of them. Susan is remarried to Stepfather and they have 3 additional kids, ages 5, 2.5 and 1.
In August, Stepfather was arrested and charged with Section 288 of the California Penal Code - lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. He posted $100,000 bail.
Greg found out about this and was concerned for his kids’ well-being, since they live with Stepfather. He consulted with his attorney and they made a motion for custody. The outcome of this was that the judge ordered Stepfather to move out of the home until the outcome of his criminal case. A few months later, Susan appealed this, claiming it was a hardship, and the judge ordered the kids to be interviewed by a licensed clinical social worker. In this interview, the kids said they loved and missed their stepfather and that he had to leave the house because “people said lies about him.” The judge then allowed Stepfather to return home, where he remains today.
Meanwhile, Susan has voraciously defended her husband’s innocence, saying he was set up and framed by the victim’s mother as revenge because the victim’s mother was in love with Stepfather, and Stepfather rejected her advances. Of course, there is no proof that Greg or I have seen supporting this, other than Susan’s story. And I think it sounds very questionable, and likely that Stepfather was lying to Susan to cover up his misdeeds, and Susan just repeating the story because she couldn’t bear to face that her husband could do such a thing.
So, Stepfather’s criminal trial was scheduled for last week, and over the days and weeks leading up to it, Susan kept saying that Stepfather was innocent, they had incriminating proof against the victim’s mother (e-mails), and that their attorney said he would get off, etc. I should also add that at various times, Susan has said vicious things about the 13-year-old victim, such as she is a slut and a whore and that she had revealing photos of herself on her MySpace page – in essence trying to blame the girl. It appears like classic denial to me.
Then just days before the trial, Stepfather pleads no contest to the charge. A no contest plea essentially has the same effect as a guilty plea and will result in a conviction. The penalty according to the California statute is 3-8 years in state prison. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
However, Susan claims their attorney told them he would serve no prison time pending a positive psychological report pursuant to Section 288.1 (basically if he gets a psychologist to say that this was an isolated incident and he is not a pedophile). It’s entirely up to the judge at the sentencing hearing… it could be probation and no jail time (but with sex offender registration) or as much as 8 years in prison.
So that leads me to my questions: What should Greg do? He would like to file for full physical custody of his children because they will be living in a home with a convicted child molester. Even if Stepfather goes to jail, he will probably be home within a short period of time since this apparently is his first felony (as in, he’s not likely to get the maximum sentence). But even if he did go to prison for a long time, how would Susan be able to handle 6 children by herself? She does not work, and she depends on Stepfather for his income. He will likely lose his job, apparently because his employer will not employ felons. Of course, Greg pays a hefty amount of child support, but it isn’t nearly enough to support Susan and her 6 children without the Stepfather’s income.
On the other hand, would living with Greg be a better option, considering he is a single father? Money is not an issue for him - he has a very good income. We are not married, and don’t live together, although we have been together for almost 4.5 years, and I would be willing to become an involved and loving stepmother if we were married.
I’m basically looking for your opinions, thoughts, ideas, etc. This is weighing on me heavily. Of course, I left out a lot of details because it’s so long, so please ask any questions you need for clarification.