Update - Stepfather pleads to child molestation charges. Need advice.

I’m not a parent but I wouldn’t want any child I cared about near somebody who got drunk & fingered a nubile 14 year old.

Or around somebody who thought that was no big deal.

Wasn’t she 13? All of grade seven.

I don’t have advice other than what has been said, just want to say I’m sorry you and your significant other have to go through this.

Boy do you, or BF actually, have a chore ahead of you. I agree 100% to go for custody. That’s a no-brainer. Achieving that, is the hard part.
Here’s the line you have to walk - to get custody of the children, you have to convince the judge that she is no longer fit. But, the children know and love their mother, so you can’t say anything bad about her in front of the kids or you will alienate them. Kids don’t like it when you attack their mother.
Also, if the only income the mother is going to have is child support, you better believe she will fight as hard as she can to maintain custody so that money keeps coming in.
Good luck.

This is a troubling case in many respects. I think the kids are in for heartache no matter what the outcome is. Very sad.

I wonder what his lawyer thought the implications for his wife’s custody arrangement might be? It made his no-contest plea risky, it seems to me.

Still, it’s not clear to me that the kids are in danger of sexual predation or molestation, as so many people seem to assume. I don’t know what kind of scumbag Stepfather is, but isn’t it possible to be the kind of scumbag who would hit on an unrelated teen but not make any move towards the (step)children with whom he has a strong familial and parental bond?

Of course, that’s a chance many parents would be uncomfortable taking–and as a Mom I entirely understand the desire to get those kids outta there. But the assumption that the kids will all going to end up groped (or worse) by StepDaddy feels flawed to me.

From one of the earlier threads:

So this sounds more like “seducing” or abusing a known minor, and one who is the same age as one of Greg’s children.

nyctea scandiaca also said

I’m not a parent, but to me, it’s pretty obvious Greg needs to try to get his kids, and not leave them in a situation where things could get worse either through being around this convicted dirtball, or with the wife who is covering for him.

Even if it could be ascertained with any degree of certainty that Stepfather would not present any physical/sexual danger to the children who lived in his house (and I don’t see how you could) I wouldn’t want him in a position to take part in the socialization of my children.

Even if any of astro’s mitigating circumstances actually existed the best that makes Stepfather is a guy with poor judgement. I don’t want a guy with poor judgement raising my kid. The “no contest” plea inclines me to believe that he is guilty of more than a mere lapse in decorum.

While I agree with the sentiment that Greg should try to get his kids (and also agree with the idea suggested above that perhaps Greg should do so because of generally bad parenting by his ex-wife rather than the assumption that they are in iminent danger of molestation by stepfather), I think you and Greg need to think about a Plan B.

Plan B, in my book, is all about figuring out how to develop closer relationships with the kids, help make sure they are emotionally as well as physically healthy, make sure if something horrid happens to the kids (from an outside source as well as from Stepfather and the ex-wife) they know they can come to Greg for help . . . that sort of thing.

I’m not a parent, so I can’t provide more detailed suggestions. But I think that it is truly sad when children get the impression that they don’t matter much to the parent without the majority of physical custody.

Thanks for all the responses, let me respond to some of them, one at a time…

This is a concern of mine. Twice they have been interviewed by a licensed clinical social worker (ordered by the judge in the custody matter) and in the reports of these interviews the kids revealed that their mother (Susan) has repeatedly used the threat of “going to live with your father” as a scare tactic. She has also implanted in their minds the thought that “your father is going to try to make you move with him!” - again, as a ploy to scare them.

Her ploys have worked. They are very loyal to their mother, and say they don’t want to be “taken away” by Greg. One boy even said in the interview he wishes Greg “would just leave them alone.” It is my strong suspicion that he has seen his mother get upset at Greg’s attempts for custody, and he in turn mimics her unhappiness and fear.

So yes, if Greg does get custody, they will be resistant and upset at first. However, knowing them, that probably won’t last long. They love visiting Greg and always have a great time with him. They will all be able to have their own rooms, and without their younger siblings around, they won’t have to spend as much time helping to take care of them - allowing them more time to be kids.

ALSO, re: WhyNot’s concern that they will be “uprooted.” Did I mention that they have moved 6 times in the past 4 years??? New houses, new schools… one school year they were in 3 different schools. Why? Just because Susan felt like it. She never really gave a reason, she just liked to change houses a lot (she rents).

This is an ethical dilemma that has crossed my mind. First, let me say that Greg is not a “basically unknown father.” He lived with them full-time until the youngest was about 2 or 3, then after that he had them every weekend, until he moved out of state two years ago. He flies out to California to visit them (twice in the past month alone) and he talks on the phone with them several times a week.

But removing them from their siblings is an issue to be considered. But fundamentally, Greg has no moral or legal responsibility for Susan’s other 3 kids with Stepfather. He has to put his kids first.

There are many difficulties that I forsee in keeping them all together. Mainly, that I don’t think Susan will leave Stepfather… I think she truly believes he is innocent, she loves him, and she needs him financially. My biggest concern is how she will manage financially if the Stepfather goes to prison. Actually, even if he doesn’t go to prison, we are told he will lose his job because his employer won’t employ felons. And the guy has few skills, no college education, and the job market is very weak. How will she manage? I have no idea.

Oh wow, what a screwed up situation. Those poor kids.

Greg will definitely try to have the next custody hearing moved. I don’t know if he will be successful, though, because in the past it usually takes months to schedule hearings.

It’s hard to get concrete reliable information about the details of his plea, but we’re unsure that it’s a formal plea bargain with the prosecutor. Apparently he was offered a plea bargain a few months ago, and he refused to take it, and it was taken off the table. From what I have pieced together, I believe that his lawyer is going to ask for leniency based on that 288.1 psychological evaluation, and they are hoping - but not guaranteed - that the judge will go along.

And keep in mind that Susan is getting all of her information from Stepdad, as she was not at the hearing when he entered the no contest plea. It is very likely that Stepfather is telling her the absolutely best case scenario as told to him by his attorney, so that Susan will stay calm and not have a breakdown.

This wouly definitely be IDEAL, but I strongly doubt it will ever happen for several reasons. (1) Susan’s family (mom, dad, siblings) all live nearby and she is heavily dependent upon them, especially her parents. (2) I believe it is very unlikely that Susan will seek to get a job because (a) she has never worked before and has never shown any interest in working, and (b) she has a 1-year-old and a 2.5-year-old and child care would probably to be costly.

Let me just add that Greg cannot, under any circumstances, move back to CA. He has a high-level government job which is located here.

Greg & Susan’s kids are:
Boy, 13
Boy, 11
Boy, 9

Susan and Stepfather’s kids are:
Boy, 5
Girl, 2.5
Girl, 12 months

As I mentioned above, this is one of my major concerns. Greg already pays the maximum child support amount, but when Susan loses Stepfather’s income, the family’s ONLY income will be Greg’s child support. It’s a lot - plenty to support 3 kids - but not nearly enough to support a family of 8. I have no idea how Susan will support the family. I do think her parents can/will offer her some financial support, but they’re not rich by any means and it wouldn’t be a lot.

Did I also mention, Stepfather has another child that he pays child support to? She’s an approximately 11-year-old girl. Yep. He has no visitation with her, however, and I don’t believe they have even seen each other since she was an infant. But he does pay support to the girl’s mother.

I think he should go for the custody hearing now. I think any judge worth his salt will understand the situation and try his/her darndest to really do what’s best for the children.

From what I’ve read, the mom is showing signs of a co-dependent (similar to the family of an alcoholic) and even if the stepfather is away in jail she’s raising the kids to be victims. Mom may need professional help and same with kids. You might be able to hire a psychologist as an expert witness to talk about this as another reason the kids need a change of situation to a loving stable father.

This is an interesting side to the story. We don’t know the exact details of what Stepfather did, and we were hoping to get a better idea from the testimony at the criminal trial (which Greg was going to attend). The best detail we have is the text of the police report which the judge in Greg’s custody case read, but Greg did not get to read. Greg’s lawyer relayed to him some details in the police report which involve allegations of digital penetration of the girl’s genital region, a “massage” in inappropriate areas (possibly including the breasts and genitals) and very inappropriate graphic sexual conversation with the girl.

The girl was 13 at the time, and the daughter of a couple with whom Stepfather and Susan were good friends. Stepfather knew, without a doubt, how old she was. Also, I do not think he was drunk or high, as he has no history of drinking or drugs at all.

But now that a plea has been made, we will never hear the testimony and will never know the true extent of the details. This does leave me wanting for that aspect of “closure.”

I also strongly suspect that this is what led Stepfather to plead no contest – because as the trial date grew near, he feared having his wife and family hear the dirty details of his crime in court. Now those details will never be known, and Stepfather can forever hold on to the claim that he is innocent because he pleaded “no contest” and did not have to acknowledge responsibility for the crime before the court. It’s this “no contest” thing that has Susan hanging onto that thin thread of belief that her husband is innocent. Very clever on Stepfather’s part, I must say.

Just to clarify, she was 13 at the time of the crime. And let me say, I completely agree with you 100%, I wouldn’t want the kids around either person. Will a judge agree? Let’s hope.

Honestly, I don’t believe Greg’s 3 boys are in direct danger of being molested or physically harmed by Stepfather. But I still don’t believe they should be living in a house with a convicted child molester, or a mother who defends that child molester. He is not a person that I would want the kids being exposed to, or acting as a father figure.

Just think, the kids would never be able to have their friends over. The oldest is 13 - just think, he’ll NEVER be able to have a girlfriend over. EVER. That’s sad, and unacceptable. I don’t want these kids going through their tween and teen years never being able to have their friends over.

I understand where you are coming from CAAOM, but consider this. How high, wide and deep is the barrier between you diddling a child? That is a big, huge, massive mental hurdle to climb over. The discrete difference between “one ya know, one ya don’t” is extraordinarily minor by comparison.

I can’t even fathom a grown up of any age not being able to pick out a 13/14 year old in less than 5 minutes of conversation. I’m assuming it takes more than 5 minutes for an average guy to get his hand down an average girls pants.

Get the kids out, and get them in a stable situation. The oldest is just hitting puberty and entering high school and the others are soon to follow–this is exactly the time in their lives that they need a good male role model.

After Greg gets the kids (hopefully), he should carve out huge amounts of time in his schedule to make them a part of his normal life.