The hold music for Child Protective Services is oddly upbeat.
Two hours after last week’s post went live I was on the phone listening to it. And when I got off the phone, I thought “Why the hell didn’t I do this sooner?”
Some actions that can only be compared to nuclear war, because they will leave a smoking crater in your life. They are a last resort. Divorce is one such thing. Reporting your father-in-law to Child Protective Services for molesting his son is another.
Except not in this case. Because, according to the case worker I spoke to, my father-in-law didn’t commit a crime.
Why? Because to the best of my knowledge, the molestation happened after my brother-in-law was sixteen. That’s the age of consent in the state they live in. But they opened a file. I don’t know why, if he didn’t do anything illegal. But there’s a record of it in case anyone else files a complaint.
So the next nuclear option is to tell the deacons of my father-in-law’s church what happened. This is where it gets a bit tricky. I live five states away. I don’t know their names. And my father-in-law picks up the mail at the church. They used to belong to a conference of churches, so I started there, but it seems they voted to become independent, so there was no contact info there.
I can’t exactly ask anyone in the family for contact information, as it would seem suspicious. Many of them agree with us in principle, but I don’t know how they would feel about what I want to do, and I don’t want to risk any information getting back to my father-in-law. First I’ll go the easy route and see if the church has a website with contact info.
The use of nuclear weapons has been authorized. Such drastic action requires two people to turn their missile key. In this case that would be my wife.
The day I called CPS she had a glass of wine with dinner. A FULL glass, which amounts to about half a bottle.
She agrees it needs to be done, but she can’t do it herself. I don’t blame her, if it were my father I would probably feel the same way. I think she would be OK with filing the CPS report and leaving it at that, but she sees the need for the deacons to know.
Honestly, part of me hopes that my father-in-law gets fired and her parents just write us off. In some ways that would be easier. Currently they call every few weeks and my wife has an awkward conversation in which they pretend everything is OK.
I haven’t talked to them since the meeting.
Every year we have a family vacation at my family’s beach house. They weren’t invited last year, and they’re not invited this year. The rest of my wife’s siblings are coming. We’re told my mother-in-law is very sad about this, as they will be away on her birthday.
Well, tough shit. We told you what you needed to do to have a relationship with us, and you refused. You made your choice. You chose your church and your beliefs over us.
This has been a pattern throughout my wife’s whole life. My father-in-law wouldn’t dance with her at our wedding because he “has a conviction about dancing in public”.
In public. He’ll do it if no one else is watching. Hmm, that seems to be a pattern in HIS life.
For my non-Christian readers, a “conviction” is when you believe God is telling you to do (or in this case, not do, something). He also “has convictions” about drinking alcohol (but he works for a grocery store that sells it), and watching movies in a movie theatre (but he has a huge DVD collection).
I guess God forgot to convict him about not molesting his son. Well, I’m sure he’s a very busy deity. He was probably appearing as a face in a blueberry muffin somewhere and just forgot.
Well, I haven’t forgotten. I hope I will have the courage to take the next step. I’ll keep you posted.