“My newly 13-year-old son is growing into a repeat sex offender and I don’t really know how to take it or handle it,” read the first line of a lengthy anonymous post in a parenting Facebook group this week.
It’s not the typical advice-seeking post you see in this sort of group, which is usually filled with things like, “How do I discipline my potty-mouthed toddler?” or “How do I potty-train my toddler?”
But it’s a group designed to offer support for parents from all walks of life on their journeys of raising kids and oftentimes, that means going into some harsh territory.
He had been displaying some disturbing behavior
The dad writes, “Last year, I won full physical custody of my son when he was nearly 12 and I’ve had him a little over a year now.
“Before [getting custody from his mother], I had spoken with his school and long story short, they said he was very disrespectful and out of control.
“He nearly got himself expelled for threatening another child with a hypothetical gun he allegedly had in his backpack.”
He then explains that he’s recently been witnessing some “messed up” behavior from his son, namely, watching violent porn (including in front of his younger brother and his friends) and making inappropriate comments to family members.
“He would make [remarks] about my mum’s breasts and let her know when he had a boner,” the dad said.
Things took a turn over the school holidays when one of the boy’s friends, a 10-year-old girl, came over for play dates.
“She has been inside my home watching movies and playing video games with the boys. I’ve caught them sitting on my son’s futon in his room with them under the covers with music playing.”
“He did things to me and hurt my feelings”
But according to one friend, things were not innocent.
“About three days ago, another friend of theirs told me my son raped the girl. She told me that the girl told her that my son put his privates in her butt. I went and got my son and asked the girl to repeat it while he was standing there and she told him the same thing and without any sign of remorse he just simply denied it with a blank stare.”
Later on, the boy’s younger brother confessed to seeing his older brother in the act of raping the girl and said he threatened to kill him if he told anyone.
When the worried dad asked the girl if it was true, she said, “He did things to me and hurt my feelings.
“I apologized to her on my son’s behalf and assured her something is going to be done about it.”
Now, the dad wants to know what to do.
“I’m worried that if I seek professional help that he will be reported and face criminal charges and jail time or long-term inpatient care, which I don’t want him to resent me for later on in life.
“But I can’t just sit here and play with my thumbs as things keep being brought to me.”
“You have to report this, there are victims involved”
Parents in the thread encouraged the dad to do the right thing.
“You have to report this,” one of the most popular comments read. “There are victims involved. This is WAY out of your control and there will be serious consequences if you are found to be aiding him by neglecting to report his crimes. The things he is doing are harming and scaring children around him for the rest of their lives. This WILL escalate, don’t kid yourself.
“I understand you feel like you can help him, but you can help him by making him see that there are higher authorities and higher consequences than yours. He will be able to get the counselling that he needs, but all he sees right now is that he can do what he likes without anyone stopping him. Please do what is right for you, for him and for your family.”
Others also agreed he needs to report this immediately. “You can’t change his behavior, he needs serious help.”
And some made sure to tell the dad that he needs to tell the girl’s parents.
“He needs to be in inpatient mental health treatment, that’s where he’ll get best care and prevent future abuse on others. The girl’s parents need to be told, whether you want to or not. She needs therapy now too. Imagine you don’t get him treatment, what his future holds and how many other people he’ll harm. Take action immediately please.”