Guest blogger Lauren: My husband's half-brother, Kenny*, is a super nice guy ... but he's also a sex offender. Ten years ago, he got busy with an underage girl and was busted. It's a long story, but he ended up on probation and having to register himself in the sex-offender database. He is steadfast in his denial of any wrongdoing, and I (for one) believe him. To hear his side of it, it really does sound like the girl lied to get out of trouble with her parents and to "save face" with her friends. My husband, on the other hand, has his doubts about his half-brother's innocence.
This whole stupid sex-offender thing was never an issue until we had our daughter, Janie, nine years ago. Kenny would visit and dote on his only niece, but my hubs was overly vigilant (in my opinion, anyway) whenever Kenny was around. He refused to leave her alone with him, even for a minute. I thought he was overreacting, but it eventually became a nonissue, because Kenny got a new job and moved across the country to California. We haven't seen him for years, so the subject didn't come up again until last week, when Kenny called and announced that he'd be coming back east for a "long-overdue visit."
When he asked if he could spend a few days in our guest room, you can imagine what happened. I see no problem with this at all -- Kenny was always a good houseguest, and I would love to see him (so would Janie, who is curious about her "Uncle Kenny"). But my husband is having a FIT. Now that Janie is older, he doesn't want his brother anywhere near her! I get being protective of one's child, but I think he's being overprotective and silly. What the heck are we supposed to tell Kenny? "Sorry, we're scared you're going to jump on our 9-year-old child and have your way with her"? Ridiculous.
He paid the price for the whole situation ages ago -- and even if he was guilty, he's a different person now, and I completely trust him with Janie. It's not like he's going to babysit while we go on vacation! He just wants to stay a few days! What's the big deal?
My husband's not taking any chances, though. He thinks Kenny might really be a "Chester Molester," so even if it means alienating his only brother and Janie's only uncle, he refuses to let him stay overnight in our home. We haven't told Kenny the news yet, but since my husband is the one who's so obsessed with protecting his daughter, he can be the one to tell him. I'm not touching this one, and if Kenny asks, I'm giving him my full support.
I have a couple of girlfriends who think I'm the crazy one, and that my husband might have a point. "You just never know what could happen, and it's better to safe than sorry," they say. Look, we could get hit by a bus, too -- are we going to live our lives worrying about what might happen every time we walk out the door? This whole thing is stupid, and I can't believe I'm married to someone so unreasonable. What can I say that will make my husband see reason? Any ideas?