SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 2, 2012

Dear Abby: Steer daughter to counseling after son-in-law is in jail

:Dear Abby: We recently learned that our son-in-law, “Mike,” was fired from his job as a community service officer with the county. He committed second-degree criminal sexual assault on two women inmates he was supervising and is now in the process of going to court. We hope he’ll be convicted and sent away so our daughter can put her life together.

This has torn our family apart. We don’t know how to get through to her that she deserves so much better than this. She refuses to divorce him even though this was happening during their marriage and her pregnancy, She claims she’s not being abused, but we have seen how controlling Mike has been throughout their courtship and marriage.

How can we help her realize that life without him would be so much better and that sex offenders are never really “cured”? They tell us they are “constantly praying” and that “God has already forgiven” him for what he has done. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Worried Parents

Dear Worried Parents: Your son-in-law’s abuse of his authority is appalling. But as long as he’s still around and “constantly praying” (probably more for a sympathetic jury than forgiveness for what he did to those women), you won’t get through to your daughter.

Fortunately, the justice system has sentencing guidelines for men who abuse their power the way Mike has, and he may be going away for a long, long time. Once he’s gone, start talking to your daughter about counseling to deal with the trauma she has been through, and let a mental health professional shed some light on this. If the message comes from a person with no bias, it stands a better chance of getting through.

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