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Should Sex Offender Bro-in-Law Stay with Us?

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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.

Not Welcome

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?

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29 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris July 15, 2010, 4:20 AM

Sorry but I’m with your husband on this. Maybe your husband has a better insight into his brother than you do that makes him more weary about him being around your daughter. You really should have more faith in your husbands judgement and respect his wishes on not having him stay there. Let him get a hotel room nearby and leave it at that.

kdp July 15, 2010, 5:21 AM

I think your husband has good instincts and knows Kenny better than you do. There is a valid reason he doesn’t want him near his daughter. Yes, you may get “hit by a bus tomorrow,” but at least you’re not inviting the bus into your house and putting a bright red target on your daughter. Good luck to you. I hope your daughter stays safe.

momof3 July 15, 2010, 6:08 AM

I agree with your husband from what you’ve told us.

Unless there are more specific details about what happened with your brother in law that would change things, there is no way that person should be staying in your house ~ brother-in-law or not.

The One July 15, 2010, 6:35 AM

I’m sure I’ll be the only one to agree with you, Lauren. People have drank the kool-aid of sex offender panic for so long they simply don’t even know the difference between a rapist and a teen having consensual relations with a teen. They all land on the registry. If you’re going to be vigilant it should be across the board, not just with a sex offender. That being said, sex offenders have the lowest rate of re-offense out there. Also, if his crime was a statutory offense with a willing partner, it is far less likely he is a “fixated” type offender.

I’d check out the website “Once Fallen” because it has a lot of facts and studies on sex offenders. It is a good place for info.

MartiniMama July 15, 2010, 7:03 AM

In general, I would agree with you, except for one thing. WHY is your hubby so “vigilant” when your BIL is near your daughter? Have you talked to him about it to get some answers? He may have insight that you don’t, after all he was raised with this guy and knows him a lot better than you do. I would err on the side of caution and go with your hubby’s judgment on this one!

Anonymous July 15, 2010, 7:19 AM

Your husband lived with him so his instincts may be more on target. However, if you care to compromise, tell Kenny he is welcome and let him sleep with his brother while your daughter sleeps with you. Then as long as there is a watch the whole time, nothing should happen.

Anonymous July 15, 2010, 7:28 AM

Did I miss something…nowhere did I read that the BIL was a teen when these charges were brought against him???

JD in Van July 15, 2010, 7:29 AM

I think there’s two sides to this issue. First and foremost, is there something about Kenny that your husband knows that he has not disclosed to you? You should ask him, calmly in a non confrontational way if this is the case. He doesn’t even need to tell you what it is. But if he says yes then you need to trust your husband has a good reason to be uneasy about his brother being alone with his daughter. Even if this goes against your instincts. If it is ONLY the one incident though that’s turned your husband against his brother then I wonder about that, both if your husband has some history of sex abuse or witnessed something in his past that would make him so fanatical ot what else is going on.

I think the real issue at hand is not if Kenny should stay over but WHY your husband is so polarized in his views in this situation.

Jilly July 15, 2010, 7:43 AM

How old was he and how old was she? In my opinion most guys who are say, in 25ish and date 15-18ish girls are a little strange. There really is a big difference in those ages and most guys are missing some crucial components when they are attracted to the younger set. That being said, I would need more info to make a good decision on this case. If this was isolated, then maybe, but if there is any history of dating young girls or behaviors maybe your hub is not telling you about(he does know him better than you!) then I would be leary. Why are you so ready to put your girl at risk and the man who should be more inclined to is not…seems like a red flag to me.
Anyway, I really need more info, but at the onset of reading my first thought is, HELL NO!

Paisley July 15, 2010, 7:55 AM

I think I agree with you on this one. Sounds like he is overreacting a bit, but with that said I agree with some other commenters who say that you need to see if there is anything your husband may be withholding from you. Do you have anyone nearby(w/out kids) that would be able to have him stay so that you guys could still see him lots?

Ravish July 15, 2010, 8:03 AM

I would not feel safe with a BIL that was registered as a sex offender in my house around my daughter. I agree with your husband on this one. Whether or not your husband knows more than what he’s willing to share with you or not, I would not allow him to stay in our home. I agree with Chris about him staying at a hotel or something. And yes people change and become better people, but like you said, you haven’t seen him in years, so how would you know if he has indeed changed?

someone who knows July 15, 2010, 8:28 AM

What are you thinking!!?? Would you put your daughter in front of that BUS?? Come on! Wake up! If there is a history, why risk your own child to prove a point??

Don’t do it. Your daughter is WAYYY more important than he is. Let your husband deal with his brother.

brian July 15, 2010, 9:28 AM

I am still wondering why you haven’t had a sit down talk with your husband about “WHY” he does not want his brother alone with your girl.
If it is just because of the paranoid sex offender stigma, then I would say you are in the right. This whole sex offender thing is truly just a scarlet letter, and unfortunately for our country, the masses of ignorant people can not see past the news hype to the truth of this.
On the other hand, if your husband knows more and discloses it to you, I would side with him most likely. This country has forgotten that things are never black and white, but usually a shade of grey.
I honestly feel sorry for the people that are on “the list” these days. If you look at things logically with our countries constitution in mind, this whole tragedy should have never come to be, but since the politicians are cashing in for popularity votes. The people have lost site of how precious freedom is, and are too ignorant to realize that by passing laws like these it only allows for our freedoms to be taken away…. start with the groups that everyone detests, and then slowly add to it with the sex offender laws as a precedent…. this is very bad for our country.

Shawn July 15, 2010, 9:40 AM

I agree with your husband. He knows his brother better, and he is a man. What if your husband is right, and something happens to your daughter because of Kenny? Can your marriage handle that strain? It is just not worth it for Kenny to stay with you. As a father of daughters I am very careful about who stays in our house.

Anonymous July 15, 2010, 9:49 AM

Normally, I’d agree, provided it went down the way the BIL says it did. But your husband’s objections give me pause. As a sibling, he obviously has more insight into Kenny’s character. There’s more to this story, and I would trust your husband’s instincts. Better safe than sorry. Its crazy to think you know your BIL’s behavioral patterns better than his own brother.

Tracey July 15, 2010, 10:58 AM

I can see both side of the coins, which is so hard to do when you are the one in the middle of the situation. The one problem is that you and your husband need to come to an agreement on this one, someone needs to give a little. This shouldnt be argument b/t you two and in my opinion you shouldnt go behind your husband and tell his brother you are on his side. There is no right or wrong answer, you are right anything could happen, even if his brother didnt have this past. Sit down and calmly list pros and cons.Dont just throw aside your husbands concerns and he should give you the same respect. Make it a united decision and i would hope it would make you both feel better about your family (which is what you both are really fighting for). No decision is the wrong one, just agree on something, maybe he not sleep over but spend the days with you guys, work it out!!! Good luck,let us know!!!

Natalie July 15, 2010, 1:08 PM

Listen Girlfriend,
Little girl wakes up in her bed with a heavy body on top of her and a hand firmly placed over her mouth while her parents sleep soundly in the next room.’Dont say a word or make a sound and I wont hurt you’ he says.Thats when it happens…
He says,’tell anyone about this and I’ll kill your parents and your dog’, she nods in total fear.He slinks out of the bedroom,she lies awake trying to understand what just happend to her.
A life has just been ruined forever and you slept through it all.
Trust me on this,better safe then sorry.She is your innocent baby,he is not even a blood relative.
Let him visit but make him stay at a hotel or B&B, he’s a big man he’ll survive it!!Be careful with your childs life.

linda July 15, 2010, 1:40 PM

of course he denies any wrong doing!!! have you ever heard of a man admitting to doing any thing with an underage girl?! he should have know better and maybe the husband knows the brother more then the wife does would you really want to take any chances with your daughter? how has he paid? I’m with the husband let uncle Kenny visit his niece maybe… but watch him carefully he should understand that and he should take accountability for what happen in the past, ones pays usually affects ones future and he should have thought of the long term damage before he made that poor judgment.

Ryan July 15, 2010, 5:42 PM

I think your husband is wrong in what he is doing and how he is reacting. If Kenny committed MURDER, do you think your husband would care if he were around your daughter? Do you think Kenny might kill your daughter? Come on now people. 95% of ALL SEX OFFENSES are committed by FIRST TIME OFFENDERS. Know your statistics. Also know that “lying” about ones age should put THE GIRL WHO LIED IN PRISON. Kenny was set up and its not his fault. What do you think…Kenny is supposed to look at a drivers license? Would you do that to EVERY GIRL/GUY you dated before anything happened? What if you were at a party and intoxicated….do you think you’d remember?

Be realistic here people. Lauren, your husband needs to get some counseling on this.

Kelly July 15, 2010, 6:25 PM

This is your daughter, there is nothing in the world more important. The fact that you’re even thinking that it’s ok if a sex offender stays with you gives me pause. It’s so hard to explain to any mother who has not been a victim how important it is to protect your daughter. Even if it’s too cautious, even if he didn’t do anything wrong (highly doubtful based on his BROTHER’S reaction), the safety of your daughter is more important. I think it’s a no-brainer.

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