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Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:11 PM

A man keeps giving small presents to my 5-year-old daughter, and it's freaking me out.

This letter caught me eye following the story last week about the bookstore that wouldn't allow single males to be in the children's section. what do you parents think about this? Maybe the man is being grandfatherly. What if the gift giver was a woman? Or do you find this just as creepy as the mother? Prudence gives the letter writer a different take in her response. read it at the link

Dear Prudence,
I have wonderful parents who often watch my 5-year-old and 2-year-old daughters. My parents live at the beach and have taken the kids for overnights, and even for a week. They have become close friends with a nearby couple their age, who also have grown children and a grandson. The problem is that my husband and I are totally creeped out by the man. My oldest daughter has come home from trips to my parents’ house with a "present" from this man: a seashell, a feather, a rock. Once when I was dropping my girls off, I stayed awhile and “Fred” and “Wilma” stopped by and brought a present. It was a sand dollar in a box elaborately decorated with fancy ribbon. I had a pit in my stomach the whole way home and I realized what bothered me about Fred’s gestures. They seem innocuous but are too adult in their presentation; he only brings gifts when my husband and I aren't scheduled to be there; and he singles out my older daughter and doesn’t bring presents for my younger one. It feels like he is grooming her to trust him, and my mommy-warning sirens are screaming. I have no proof or even a suspicion of impropriety on this man's part, but the girls are set to stay with my parents for a long weekend and we want to be certain that my folks won't be socializing with Fred and Wilma. We don’t want to insult their friendship, but how do we explain that their friends are creepy and we don't want them near our kids?

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/06/dear_prudie_a_man_keeps_giving_gifts_to_my_young_daughter_should_i_be_worried_.html?google_editors_picks=true

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Reply A man keeps giving small presents to my 5-year-old daughter, and it's freaking me out. (Original post)
Liberal_in_LA Jun 2012 OP
sarisataka Jun 2012 #1
Number23 Jun 2012 #69
SharonAnn Jun 2012 #123
SoutherDem Jun 2012 #2
Liberal_in_LA Jun 2012 #3
SoutherDem Jun 2012 #19
MADem Jun 2012 #7
SoutherDem Jun 2012 #18
MADem Jun 2012 #47
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #72
MADem Jun 2012 #74
redqueen Jun 2012 #107
Cave_Johnson Jun 2012 #94
pipoman Jun 2012 #99
MADem Jun 2012 #104
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4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #111
MADem Jun 2012 #112
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #113
MADem Jun 2012 #121
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #131
pipoman Jun 2012 #37
SoutherDem Jun 2012 #50
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Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #82
raccoon Jun 2012 #90
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Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #125
raccoon Jun 2012 #141
pipoman Jun 2012 #97
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #128
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4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #135
Dash87 Jun 2012 #115
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #127
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LanternWaste Jun 2012 #146

Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:17 PM

1. Your child is your #1 priority

everything else is secondary.

You don't have to make accusations but can bring up your concerns. Get guarantees that the children will be supervised at all times and that though you consider the 'gifts' to be thoughtful, you are just not comfortable with them.

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:33 PM

69. I agree with everything you've said

That child is the parent's number ONE priority. Talking to the mom's parents about their friends may lead to some potentially hurt feelings, but I think the mother of that child would rather hurt the neighbor's feelings than have anyone do anything to hurt her child.

As you said, if they can get guarantees that the children will never be left alone in the neighbor's presence then it's win-win. If they can't, then see you later "Fred."

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:48 PM

123. It's not appropriate for him to give her gifts. Tell him and others that it's a rule: no presents!

Just say that you have a rule that no presents are to be given/received. It's part of a "safety learning" for children.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:18 PM

2. Sadly today one never knows.

When I was a kid it was simply someone being nice to the child. The reason he give a gift to the 5 year old and not 2 years old is simply the fact the 5 year old most likely responds to the gifts while the other doesn't.

Today, however who knows.

I guess I can't buy gifts for my nieces at that bookstore.

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Response to SoutherDem (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:19 PM

3. You need a woman to accompany to you to the bookstore - a reverse of that sharia stuff

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:40 AM

19. Better yet I go to Barnes & Noble

I wouldn't purchase anything from a store like that, just as I wouldn't from a store that didn't allow women, gays, Muslims or blacks into a certain area.

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Response to SoutherDem (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:26 PM

7. You can buy gifts for your nieces--this old guy is NO RELATION to the little girl.

He's a neighbor of the children's grandparents, not a relative, and he's overly interested in one child.

They have become close friends with a nearby couple their age, who also have grown children and a grandson. The problem is that my husband and I are totally creeped out by the man.

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:39 AM

18. The OP said a bookstore did not allow men to go to the children's area

that is what I meant. I am single and usually purchase any gifts by myself.

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Response to SoutherDem (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 11:55 AM

47. Here's what I think.

I think the bookstore doesn't like single men to go to the place where the kiddies sit at little tables and chairs and perhaps have a cookie and enjoy a reading circle, and plonk down for a chat, or something like that. I rather doubt if you wanted to browse for a book they'd take issue--and if they did, that's a business to eschew.

There's a real difference between a guy buying a couple of books for his little nieces, nephews, or cousins, and a creepy guy who hangs around the stacks day in, day out, or sits his ass down by the kids to hear a story and "make a few friends."

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Response to MADem (Reply #47)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:29 PM

72. I would bet good money that's what was going on with the old guy kicked out

of the children's section. A CUSTOMER complained about him to a clerk, who then said they don't allow men in the children's section.

I'd bet you that the man was not just browsing through some books. I bet he was hanging around some of the kids there and that's what caught that customer's attention.

The clerk isn't going to walk up to the man and accuse him of lusting after children. Instead, he recites a rule about men not being allowed alone in the children's section.

We all know creepy behavior when we run across it. It's hard to describe it, and there is always a supposed reasonable explanation for it...but you know in your gut that something's not right. In this day and age when children are abused and molested daily, I would err on the side of protecting a child. No need to be ugly or accusatory. There's just a need to stop the behavior.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #72)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:45 AM

74. Yes, you got it in one. That's it precisely.

After all, that Sandusky guy can come across as the most innocuous and pleasant fellah going...look at him, so cheerful and child-like!

Until one realizes his goal is to abuse little lads sexually and pretend it is a consensual bit of business...!

Err on the side of caution, that's the best bet. Anyone who gives a shit about kids UNDERSTANDS the whole "boundaries" thing, these days. Yes, parents will be over-protective. Let them be, particularly when it comes to keeping them safe from potential predators. Helicopter playdates, too many activities, freaking out about what college they will attend when they are only seven, well, that's another set of issues--but keeping kids away from potential pervs, I can understand.

I'm old as dirt, and I understand that the paradigms have shifted and the boundaries have changed. The "big diff" is that people aren't looking at child abuse as something shameful to have experienced--the shame is on the asshole who would do such a thing.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #72)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:13 AM

107. The old guy in the bookstore was sitting on the floor in the children's area, talking on the phone.

Amin said he received a phone call as he arrived in the store and went to a quiet spot along the windows in the children's area, where he sat on the floor to talk with a female friend who had called him. The area was nearly empty, Amin said, and he did not see any children or female shoppers while he was talking on the phone.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/05/31/20120531scottsdale-barnes-noble-sex-bias.html#ixzz1xP5bA547

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:17 AM

94. This thread reeks of paranoia...

 

That is all...

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Response to Cave_Johnson (Reply #94)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:12 AM

99. No, it reeks of naivete..

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Response to Cave_Johnson (Reply #94)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:55 AM

104. No--I think it reeks of reality. There are a lot of perverts out there. Twenty years ago it

wasn't talked about as much. Forty years ago it wasn't talked about at all.

There are Sanduskys out there...they're arresting them every day.

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Response to MADem (Reply #104)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:14 AM

108. +1

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Response to MADem (Reply #104)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:56 AM

111. There have been a rash of stories in the past 10 years or more

 

of women kidnapping children (sometimes by carving them out of pregnant women) or even murdering their own children or others out of spite/insanity.

I think it's fair then to assume that any woman who shows interest in a child is planning on either kidnapping it or murdering the poor thing.

That's not paranoia, that's just reality. Just as all males are assumed pedophiles all females should be assumed kidnappers/murderers (especially mothers).

Really children should be raised by wolves. No seriously. Wolves never kidnap or rape children. And by the legal definition they never murder them either.

It's the only way to be safe.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #111)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:01 PM

112. Well, you go on ahead and put aside your instincts, now.

Because all humans always behave logically, don't they?



How lovely to live in your magical world! Pity the rest of us can't!

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Response to MADem (Reply #112)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:06 PM

113. Ah the old "gut reaction"

 

based on race it's racism, based on nationality and it's nationalism, based on religion it's bigotry, based on gender (assuming it's against males) it's common sense.

True, some men do hurt children.

Just as some black people steal.

Some muslims are terrorists.

Some women women are terrible drivers.

Make assumptions on any of those individuals except for men and you are a bigot.

But it's cool. I'm sure there won't be any downside to training whole generations to view all adult males as violent sex-crazed criminals out to harm children.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #113)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:26 PM

121. Well, you're free to extrapolate your own experience, but that's not mine.

If your gut feeds you racism and sexism, that's on you.

No one is saying--save you--that we should view "all adult males as violent sex-crazed criminals out to harm children" (those are YOUR words).

All I can say is that when a mother, AND a father, both have a creepy feeling about an old stranger--not even a friend of the mother's parents--just a mere acquaintance-neighbor-- who keeps giving gifts to their small child, it's worth taking their "gut reactions," their feelings, their instincts, into consideration.

No one is "making assumptions" here based on zero input. Those parents have a FEELING--like many people do when they meet someone. I once met Dick Cheney, and found him to be a chickenshit who was afraid of his wife. So, should my "assumption" be disregarded and I be called a bigot, simply because I got this "feeling" about the guy which was based entirely on his conduct?

Let me put it another way--I'd believe their take on what is best for their child before I'd believe yours. I think you are bending over backwards to mock these parents for rightfully having a jaundiced eye. That's kind of interesting, too.

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Response to MADem (Reply #121)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 03:51 PM

131. " If your gut feeds you racism and sexism, that's on you." That's an . . . interesting spn

 

on what I actually wrote.

Many people have "gut" reactions. Those reactions would be considered bigotry if they led towards them being more suspicious of blacks, women, muslims, etc. They are *not* bigotry (according to some) if they lead you to being more suspicious of men. That is the double standard I was pointing out that you refuse to acknowledge.


And they didn't come to this conclusion, they asked someone else for advice. Most likely because they have also been raised to view men as sexual deviants.

Raise a whole generation to view black people as violent criminals and would you be surprised to see articles where people have a "gut reaction" of fear towards blacks for what would otherwise be considered normal behavior in everyone else?

Many people have a gut reaction that muslims standing around praying is an indication that some terrorist act is about to occur. Should that be encouraged?

It's fine though, encourage this behavior. When a small child get's abducted or runover because no male in his right mind wanted to intervene and perhaps be labeled a sex offender you can likewise blame all the males present for not acting. Damned if you do damned if you don't.

/weird how this hysteria is largely an american invention. Either men in america are unique or we are overreacting.

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Response to SoutherDem (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:02 AM

37. Complete nonsense

"When I was a kid it was simply someone being nice to the child."

Just because you look at the past with nostalgia doesn't mean pedophiles haven't been preying on children since before the written word. There are no more today than there ever was. In 'the good ol' days' people preyed their whole lives and were never prosecuted, investigated or mentioned..today, thankfully, there is awareness. When you were a kid there were neighborhood perverts just like there is today.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #37)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:06 PM

50. Well, yes it did happen when I was a kid

but, our attitudes have gone from complete trust to complete distrust. This may be acceptable to protect our kids but under other circumstances it is bigotry at its best.

Old man gives gifts to 5 year old - watch out he is a pedophile.

Man in a turban - watch out he is a terrorist.

Black man walking down the street - watch out he is going to steal something.

My point wasn't less pedophiles but less trust.

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Response to SoutherDem (Reply #50)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:09 AM

92. It is different

"Man in turban" = minding his own business

"Black man walking down the street" = minding his own business

"Old man gives gifts to 5 year old"...who he barely knows and doesn't know the parents...a little odd, combine that with the unknown from the OP..if the guy watches the 5 year old in a leering fashion, wants the 5 year old to 'ride the pony' all the time, etc.. It is quite prudent for parents to error on the side of caution. Once a child is fondled, abused or abducted it is too late to say, 'he was just a kindly old man'..the child has already suffered the emotional pain, physical pain, or worse at that point. No, I will remove my grandchildren from any such threat, perceived threat, or even remote risk.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #92)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:34 AM

109. Yes the OP does not give a lot of detail

There may be information which we don't know. But, from the information we do have I am hard pressed to assume anything but an elderly man giving a gift to a little girl. Of course it is the parents right to draw whatever conclusion they wish and restrict the child's visitors.

From the information given I don't see a difference between the man in turban, black man and elderly man.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #37)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:43 AM

82. Yes, there are more pervs today. If only because there are more people.

Add to that the fact that porn is readily available, and ba-da-bing, you have an explosion of increases in perv behavior.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #82)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:57 AM

90. Disagree--I think there were proportionally just as many pervs in the past,

only they were under the radar a lot more.

You probably could talk to several older women and relatives or friends and hear
tales of such pervs in the good old days.


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Response to raccoon (Reply #90)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:11 AM

93. I don't use anecdotes as substitutes for facts. If you use anecdotes,

then Chrysler is the most reliable make of cars made, or Chevy, or (insert name here), rather than the statistically-proven reliability ratings of Toyota, Honda, and Subaru.

Yes, there have always been pervs. There has always been cancer. But there are more instances now. You can "think" that's because they're reported more now. But that's just a thought and not a fact.

Fact: There are many mroe cases of child abuse and molestation than 50 years ago.

Fact: There are many more cases of cancer now than 50 years ago.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:27 AM

96. There are many more REPORTED cases of child abuse and molestation than


50 years ago.

But I guess if they weren't reported in the past, you think they didn't exist.

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Response to raccoon (Reply #96)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:39 PM

125. Fact: There are more people in the country now than 50 years ago.

Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to deduce that there are, in fact, more cases of abuse and molestation than 50 years ago.

That's not taking a guess or "thinking" that it is so.

Of course the cases are "reported." That's the only way to know for certain. Scientists deduce a certain percentage of cases exist but go unreported.

So ...
there are more cases of abuse & molestation now than 50 years ago.
there are more cases of cancer now than 50 years ago.

If you really want to use anecdotes, think about your childhood:
How many people had cancer, when you about 10 years old? (this counts only if you are over 50 years old). My answer: One, in a 10 year period, since I had been alive.
How many people do you know that have, or had, cancer now? (this counts only if you are over 50) My answer: 10, in the last 10 years. At least. I don't count those who are friends of friends who had/have cancer. Only those I know/knew directly.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #125)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 08:13 AM

141. Fact: the terms "date rape" and "acquaintance rape" didn't exist about 40 years ago.


Therefore, "date rape" and "acquaintance rape" never happened.


Some people seem to think that social ills such as child abuse, incest, wife beating, etc., were uncommon in the
past. Thing was, it happened--a lot--but people didn't talk about it.



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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:48 AM

97. No..

"You can "think" that's because they're reported more now. But that's just a thought and not a fact."

No, it's a fact. Back as recently as the 1970's and for millennia before child sexual predators victimized with relative impunity. Now, I believe there is actually less victimization because of the risk of long prison sentences, sex offender registries and public awareness.

There is no correlation between cancer and child victimization. But if you must, cancer is more prevalent because of improved diagnostic tools and because of increased life span.

Your correlation in your earlier post between porn and child victimization, OTOH, has no basis in fact.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #97)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:47 PM

128. I didn't realize there were so many people in denial about this issue.

Let's say there were 100 people 50 years ago. 10% of them were pervs. That's 10 people.

Now there are 150 people. 10% of them are pervs. That's 15 people.

Duh. This is elementary stuff.

Everything increases with the population increase, including the # of pervs and cases of cancer.

Add to the mix the use of the internet and rampant porn on it, the easy accessibility of it to anyone, and it is easy to deduce that that has increased cases of acting out on fantasies.

I didn't realize there were so many people unaware of the magnitude of this problem and how the internet has impacted that in recent years.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #128)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:16 PM

134. And I didn't realize

how many people think sociological statistics are elementary.

There has not been a 50% increase in population in 50 years. There were however very few sex crimes against minors prosecuted 50 years ago...now it is common. This has many effects, reduction of recidivism because more are in jail, reduction on acting out because of the risk of social outcast and the very stiff criminal penalties, increased reporting because of awareness, increased teaching of kids, etc. To make this a simple equation is, again, naive.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #128)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:44 PM

135. You are ridiculously oversimplifying things

 

and then claiming anyone who points this out as being in "denial".

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:19 PM

115. Logical fallacy

Fact: There are many mroe cases of child abuse and molestation than 50 years ago.

That doesn't mean that there's more pervs out there right now. I think it had more to do with backwards ideas and shame, where these things would be hushed and nobody would say anything about it. Since communities were smaller, these pervs also probably had better protection b/c they knew how to game people and hush kids into shame and silence.

People 50 years ago were pretty much the same more or less as they are now (minus a few cultural differences).

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Response to Dash87 (Reply #115)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:43 PM

127. You can "think" whatever you want are the reasons. That's not a fact.

That's a thought, a guess.

But if only for the reason that there are more people, there would quite naturally be more pervs, if the % of pervs to total population remains the same.

But child porn is a problem now that barely existed 100 years ago. This is so because of the internet and global travel.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:22 PM

116. There are more cases of workplace discrimination based on race/gender today in the 50s.

 

that is a fact.

Ergo we should strive to be more like the 1950s in order to lessen instances of racism and sexism.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #116)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:41 PM

126. I never said we should strive to go back in time. Reading skills are important. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #126)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 03:41 PM

130. No, you just made the absurd claim that because there are more cases now that means

 

there is a higher incidence of this crime now.

Clearly the two criteria are not the same.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #37)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:54 AM

89. Great post, and that applies also to rape, incest, child beating,


spouse beating, etc. A lot of it has ALWAYS existed, but people used to
sweep it up under the rug. And the perp was rarely prosecuted, and got
away with it year after year.


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Response to raccoon (Reply #89)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:22 AM

95. I remember back in the 1970's

Johnny Carson had some guy on who claimed to be a minister and went to 3rd world countries under that ruse. He was on Carson because he claimed to have had more "wives"/divorces than anyone else living....50 or some crazy number..he said he arranged the marriages with the parents in an effort to bring the brides to the US so they had a chance at a better life. He said that most of his "wives" were "virtuous" at the time of their marriage, then quipped, "all in all, my life has just been a bowl of cherries", to which the crowd laughed, as did Johnny. I was just old enough to understand what the guy was saying, it wasn't until years later I realized he was a pedophile predator...now he would likely be picked up by Interpol, or our own Justice Department...that is a good thing, IMO...it also goes to the point that as recently as 40 years ago, 'back in the good ol' days', child victimizers could hoodwink most of the public and thus live their whole miserable lives victimizing children.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:20 PM

4. I would be very concerned and would be having conversation with your parents about this. Better

 

safe than sorry! He might be innocent, but (sorry) I would not be taking any chances with my 5 year old son or daughter. I have grand kids that are 3 and 5 and there is no way in hell that I would trust anyone with them that I don't know very well. My son and daughter-in-law feel the same way.

Due diligence is very good.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:21 PM

5. I think those parents should trust their gut. When I go with mine, I'm never wrong. When I ignore

it, I pay. If I were giving the advice, I would say come right out and say you suspect Fred of being a pedo, and to keep a weather eye on the creep. I totally disagree with the writer's response here--if Wilma wrapped the gift, why couldn't SHE give it to the kid?

Sorry--I smell a large, dead rat here. I'd be watching Fred like a hawk.

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:23 PM

6. your gif is awesome..by the way

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:28 PM

9. Thanks--he looks like a cat we had for over two decades.

That cat was well-travelled and lived a good long life. I still miss the old fart!

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:19 AM

33. agreed. Go with your gut.

Elderly neighbor's feelings are not your responsibility. Your daughter's safety is.

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:51 AM

44. Bush went with his GUT FEELINGS also. n-t

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Response to Logical (Reply #44)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 11:46 AM

45. His gut was raddled by alcohol, though! It's not the same! nt

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Response to Logical (Reply #44)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:05 PM

59. Bush was a sociopath who didn't have feelings of concern.

This is a mom whose alarm bells are ringing about ONE guy (not the whole world, one guy).

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:08 PM

51. I agree that the parents should trust their gut instincts.

I wouldn't make an accusation about Fred but I would make a point of telling the grandparents that I was uncomfortable with the attention he was paying to the 5 year-old and that we preferred that the "gifts" stop. I'd also make a point of confronting Fred directly the next time I was in the neighborhood with the same request. Most of all though, I'd talk to my daughter and tell her in an age-appropriate way why she should decline presents unless her parents are there to give her permission to do so.

If either the gparents or Fred &Wilma ignored the request, the kids would no longer visit unless we were there to supervise.

Fred may be a harmless old coot who sees some long lost child in the 5 year-old or is paying attention to her for some other benign reason but that doesn't mean that the parents need to tolerate the behavior. If it's making the parents uncomfortable they need to do what feels right to them.

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:36 PM

70. Once again, you and I are on the same page

I'd be watching Fred like a hawk.

Agreed. I thought the response from Prudence, who I normally like, was off. She seemed to be insulted by the letter writer's query. I think it sounds like a good mom doing her freaking job. I'd rather have a neighbor pissed off at me than put my child in harm's way anytime.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #70)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:47 AM

75. +1,000 nt

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:27 PM

8. I think the reason

the gifts are only given to the 5 year old is that they aren't safe gifts for a 2 year old. Notice the gifts are mostly things one can pick up free. Since 2 years olds tend to put everything in their mouth you don't give them rocks, feathers or a sand dollar. As for the way they are wrapped it probably is Wilma doing the wrapping - my husband, father and brother couldn't wrap a box elaborately if their lives depended on it.

Having said that - if the mother is that concerned she should ask her parents to make sure not to leave the girls alone with anyone else.

I don't know the age of Fred and Wilma or the mother but I think a lot of older people enjoy doing things for little kids without having sinister motives. My mom gives neighborhood kids cookies but she isn't luring them in....she's just a nice woman who loves kids and misses having little one's around to do for. All of her grand kids are grown and the great grand kids live too far away.


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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:28 PM

10. I wouldn't hesitate to say something! Mom-alarm-bells are a warning

Mom needs to pull her parents aside and say something. Tactfully but truthfully. Mom needs to be upfront and tell her parents about how this guy makes her nervous - she can even laugh it off as HER problem but be firm! No more gifts. Let her parents know that she may be over-protective but she needs them to respect her alarm bells. Tell her parents that they can tell the neighbors that the kids need grandma-and-grandpa-alone-time, NO neighbors, when they are visiting.

She can even help her parents deal with the neighbors by making sure her children know that mom's nervous about this guy. If children are alerted to stay away, there's a greater likelihood of success that they will avoid him. The kids can be told to head to their rooms if this guy shows up, avoiding him altogether.

It will be hideously awkward those first few days but Mom needs to make sure everyone understands that she's a mama bear and she's not sure next-door-neighbor is innocuous.

The senior citizens in this scenario have a completely different level of interaction together. The grandparents should be able to say honestly that they want their grandchildren to visit without interference, that they want them to themselves while they are visiting, and the neighbors should respect that and stay away. If they don't, it should be obvious to even them that something's amiss.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:31 PM

11. that particular issue - this women has genuine reasons to restrict access to her daughter

she may be overreacting - but she is picking up signals, as she mentions.

pedophiles groom their victims. that's absolutely true.

that has nothing to do with single men in a children's section of a bookstore - but in the case mentioned here - if my mommie sirens were going off - I would not take the chance and would not let my child be alone with that man.

Her child is her legal responsibility and she has no compelling reason to let her child be around someone who sets off her pedo-alarms.

If every man set off her pedo alarms - that would be a different issue.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:37 PM

12. Warn your parents!!!

My friend's sister was killed by their neighbor. She was 10.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:37 PM

13. It could be innocent - it could be something else

While some people often react like there's a pervert under every rock, I don't blame parents for jumping to conclusions, as they might just be unlucky enough to fall upon that small percentage of truly evil scum. It's unfortunate if the parents have to end up hurting the feelings of someone who is genuinely good-hearted but a little strange in their choices of gifts. But it's best to err on the side of caution especially since a mistake can have such grave consequences. The parents owe nothing to these strangers but everything to their children. If the strangers giving weird gifts are truly nice and well-intentioned people, they will understand a parent's concerns. I would therefore be up front with them and direct, but polite and gentle. I'd therefore circumvent the grand parents and have a talk with Fred and Wilma themselves.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:58 PM

14. No harm in following your instincts on this sort of thing.

The mother's suspicions of this family friend could be totally unwarranted, but why take chances?

I'd tell my own parents exactly how I felt.

In fact, I would tell my parents that if this man comes bringing gifts, the gift must disappear and remain with the grandparents. I would not let my daughter bring a gift from the man home.

In fact, I would ask the grandparents to act as though the gift was for the grandmother. The grandmother could simply grab the gift, say thanks and it's so kind of you to think of me. That would give the man the message that he is coming a bit too close to the child and that it is inappropriate.

If that doesn't work, I would simply tell the man that in this day and age, the family does not feel that his gifts and his attention to the little girl are appropriate.

And if my parents did not want to go along with my wishes, I would tell them that my daughter is not going to visit them unless I am going along and staying.

The child's safety is more important than the man's feelings.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:11 AM

15. I agree that this sounds like grooming

If the mom thinks something is off, go with it.

Very few pedos are random people off the street. Most of them are known to the child or parents. If some random dude starts sniffing around, keep an eye on it.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:02 AM

21. I agree.

And I'd involve the grandparents and be very clear: if they don't keep Fred away, the grandkids won't be seeing the grandparents anymore.

The reason I say that is this: grandparents can be great but sometimes I think they've lost that protective instinct. For instance, we have a similar situation of me letting my kids occasionally go with my parents to their vacation home for the weekend. One weekend I went with them, and went to the pool with my youngest, insisting my older daughter be right next to her in the pool (older dd is 15) even though youngest dd had a life jacket (I didn't have a swimsuit, forgot it and there are zero stores nearby, closest is 40 min away and doesn't carry my size so I was sitting by the side of the pool watching them both). My mom thought that was being overprotective.

I found out my mom (!) was letting my youngest swim in the pool by herself (she was 4 at the time, has never had a swimming lesson). omg. "What?" my mom said, "She won't drown, she has a life jacket on!" omfg, people actually DO drown even when they are wearing life jackets. I had a freak out. I couldn't believe my MOTHER who wouldn't let me walk down 5 houses down the street by myself when I was 4, was letting *MY* 4 year old who can't swim, swim on her own. WTF. I think sometimes grandparents are so anxious to help the kids have fun that they forget to protect them. Or sometimes they just don't have access (or care) about newer statistics (like kids still drown with life jackets ON). Or perhaps they don't understand about 'grooming' because predators were not really talked about a generation or 2 ago.

The mom should be clear: Fred stays away, or the kids do. The worst that could happen if Fred's not a predator is Fred will be insulted. The worst that could happen if Fred IS a predator is her child could end up assaulted or dead. I know which one I'd pick.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #21)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:28 AM

42. Ok fine but please don't generalize about grandparents. They are no more inattentive than parents

as a group. If fact my observation is that many grandparents are more protective, not less, than the parents simply because they have more life experience concerning what can go wrong. Of course there are the exceptions - grandparents who undermine the boundaries which parents have set. But I do believe they are the exception.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:12 AM

16. Err on the side of caution.

 

Who gives a fuck if the guy is a goodie or baddie. Fuck that shit.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:36 AM

17. She's hyperventilating over a seashell?

What in the world has happened to us?

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Response to pscot (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:41 AM

31. If Maurice Chevalier were singing this song today,

he'd be labeled a dirty old perverted pedophile

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #31)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:26 AM

41. Now what if one were to drive around town blasting this little diddy

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #31)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:13 PM

52. Just a couple of years ago, my granddaughters' ballet recital featured them dancing to

this recording. I shot a look at my son in law and he knew EXACTLY what it meant! I mean, these girls were little ones...freaked me out just a bit, too...

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #31)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:30 AM

88. Gigi was about grooming a 15 year old girl for prostitution.

So that would be correct.

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Response to pscot (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:08 AM

38. No, didn't sound that way to me..

she has a gut feeling about the old fart. People who don't trust their gut are less evolved than those who do. Are you a denier of the risk of perverts to children?

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Response to pipoman (Reply #38)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:22 PM

55. Mass hysteria

As an "old Fart" myself, I find your blantant ageism offensive. If you're worried about child molesters, talk to your priest.

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Response to pscot (Reply #55)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:25 PM

64. I am an old fart..no ageism...talk about seeing things not there..

So then, you think priests are the only child victimizers, huh?

http://www.nsopw.gov/

Go to the above address and do a sex offender search for your zip code..read the offenses for some of the hits..then come back and tell us all how safe the friendly you want your grandchild with the old fart down the street.

Denial and wishing doesn't change the fact that to error on the side of caution when it comes to your children is right, prudent, and the parents absolute responsibility. Further, if you have never been in the presence of someone you wouldn't let your kids around you have no senses or no children..

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:49 AM

20. I find it odd that the gifts are not for both children. That also sends alarms for me. I disagree

with Prudence and I'd speak with my parents. What if the parents want a date night and decide to leave the kids with that older couple? I'd definitely say upfront that I don't want the kids to ever be alone with either of them. God gave us gut feelings for a reason. Don't ever ignore your gut instincts.

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Response to IndyJones (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:54 AM

26. You give a shell to a two-year-old,

and she's going to put it in her mouth. The vast majority of two-year-olds have not developed a concept of what to do with gifts, while a five-year-old has developed at least a rudimentary appreciation for receiving trinkets. Why bother giving a gift to a two-year-old?

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #26)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:21 AM

27. I have three kids and they didn't put shells in their mouths.

And they could give something different to the two year old if they were concerned about that. Two year olds love bubbles or bubble bath or any number of other things. Heck, my boys loved funny socks or play doh. I don't think my kids were different than other toddlers who love lots of little, inexpensive gifts.

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Response to IndyJones (Reply #27)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:14 AM

32. I've known 2-year-olds who would put anything and everything in their mouths

Just about everyone in my extended family has had an experience with putting something dangerous in their mouth at that age, or even 3 or 4. There is a very good reason why certain products carry the warning: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #32)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:01 PM

63. Okay, and back to the OP...

It just wouldn't be acceptable to me and the advice given by Prudence is ignorant in my opinion.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:18 AM

22. better safe than sorry

Something is wrong he only gives gifts when the parents aren't around
She better start questioning her child

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:30 AM

23. If the parents ever let the kid out of their sight, they are not doing their job.

Yes, all kinds of scary things could happen to the kid, but they could have for 50 years prior, or hundreds, even thousands more. But no one in "polite society" talked about abuse then, and the abused kids were told to shut up, because they were obviously lying, because priests and other authority figures were somehow better than the rest of us.

Kids have been used and abused for centuries, for all kinds of stuff, especially by those everyone was told they could "trust." At least we as a people have finally learned to keep an eye on the kids at all times. Or, at least I hope we have.

Never let your kids out of sight.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:11 AM

24. it simply is not appropriate, with or without your uneasy feelings

he should get your permission to give gifts to your minor children

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Response to Skittles (Reply #24)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:22 AM

28. You're absolutely correct. I wouldn't give a child a gift without first asking the parents.

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Response to Skittles (Reply #24)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:46 AM

29. A rock, a feather, a shell.

Not precisely the crown jewels.

I think it's a damned shame that we've reached such a state in this world that everyone is suspect.

There is no 'right way' to behave these days; really. We are not allowed to interact in any way with children unless we have received explicit instruction from the parents. If I were male, I'd be afraid to so much as smile at a child for fear that it would be misconstrued as unhealthy interest. As a middle-aged woman (with a grown child, so before anyone launches the 'you don't have children' rationale - yes, I've been there), I once attempted to hand a child a crayon they had dropped in a restaurant - the mother snatched the thing out of my hand like I was trying to give the kid a live grenade. Ridiculous.

I'm sorry, but there is a whole lot of over-reaction going on. Yes, the world is a scary place and we need to teach our kids to be smart - but Prudence got it right. If the woman has issues with the friends, why not talk to her parents? Maybe (shock) even get to know the couple?

Adult behavior suggests that the mother (and her husband, I presume) should simply explain that giving the child gifts in this way makes them uncomfortable and they would prefer that the couple stopped doing it. Instead, she has written a public letter that tries and convicts the couple without any evidence - and that letter has become sufficient proof for a handful in this thread to do the same.

This is witch-burning behavior at its finest, really. Who needs proof? All you need is a 'gut instinct' or a 'feeling' in order to convict not just a man, but his wife ("their friends are creepy and we don't want them near our kids") based on nothing. No proof, not even a suspicion.

A sad world, indeed.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #29)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:50 AM

43. "Not precisely the crown jewels." No but gifts a 5 year old would appreciate more than jewels.

Anyway it is not the substance of the gifts which matters. It is how they are given and by whom. I believe it is usually inappropriate to give ANY gift to a young child without the permission of the parents. And it was not just a shell picked up as they were walking and given to the child. It was wrapped up in fancy paper and presented as a gift. Even for grandparents, most gifts should be cleared with the parents. Yes the parents should talk to the man involved and just let him know that the gifts are not welcome unless they are cleared with them first. Not akin to witch burning at all. No one is proposing to arrest the man for giving the gifts. As for the public letter, it was an advice columnist. They were asking for advice. No real names were given so no one's privacy was violated.

By the way the idea that giving gifts to strangers or casual friends - whether children or adults - is often not appropriate is not a new notion - it is a very old one. In the past young ladies were considered loose if they accepted gifts from gentlemen who were not their fiances or close blood relation. And gentlemen certainly knew it was inappropriate to give gifts to unrelated young girls. Maybe it is time to reset some of those boundaries.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #29)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:10 PM

54. A "public letter that tries and convicts?" It's an anonymous letter to an advice columnist.

I am as easygoing as they come, and I agree with that mother. If you think something is amiss, you're probably right.

And no one is going to jail, here--a creepy old guy named "Fred" will simply be told to not give gifts to a little child. Neither crown jewels--which WOULD raise suspicion--or trinkets.

Let's not be hyperbolic over the consequences of the mother's take-away on this matter. No one was named--unless you actually think those neighbors of the grandparents are really named Fred and Wilma!

Strangers--mere acquaintances/new neighbors of the childrens' grandparents--do not have any "right" to access a parents' children. That's not "witch burning," it's cautious parenting.

There are a lot of weirdos in the world who do not wish children well--back in those "good old days" that shit got swept under the rug and no one talked about it. That's why the Catholic Church is getting sued by hundreds of angry men in their twenties, thirties, and forties.

Just a few months ago, they closed down a world-wide ring of those perverts and rescued HUNDREDS of kids. This kind of abuse DOES happen and it is naive to be blind to it and assume that all people mean well, particularly when alarms are going off in your gut.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42108748/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/massive-online-pedophile-ring-busted-cops/#.T9N07dWufLw

The European police agency Europol said in a statement that "Operation Rescue" had identified 670 suspects and that 230 abused children in 30 countries had been taken to safety. More children are expected to be found, Europol said.
It said that so far 184 people had been arrested and investigations in some countries were continuing. Most of those detained are suspected of direct involvement in sexually abusing children.
They include teachers, police officers and scout leaders, AP reported. One Spaniard who worked at summer youth camps is suspected of abusing some 100 children over five years....


More recently, a guy in New England was convicted -- and he wasn't the only one:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20120609/NEWS/106099947/0/NEWS04

WORCESTER — A Milford man whose pornography-laden computer led to the arrest of 33 others around the world and the rescue of 138 children was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court.

Robert A. Diduca, 48, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and 10 years of supervision upon release. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 17 to charges of sexual exploitation of children and distribution and possession of child pornography.

Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations New England office, called it the most successful and satisfying case his office has ever handled, and one of the most successful across the United States. Mr. Diduca was part of an online forum for people with a sexual interest in children.

“This case is a springboard (against) an organization that we are taking down, one pedophile at a time,” he said. Already 8 people have been arrested in the United States, 13 in the Netherlands, 6 from Canada, 4 from the United Kingdom, and 1 each in Germany and Sweden, and the investigation continues, he said.



And there was just another take-down reported on the tv news yesterday. It's a problem around the world, and sometimes the authorities are slow to act. Kids deserve a safe environment, and it's up to parents to provide that.

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Response to MADem (Reply #54)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:51 PM

71. Thank you. Some of the responses to this have been bizarre

In a world in which we KNOW that children are abused and mistreated on a damn near daily basis, people are maligning a mother who is asking for advice on how to deal with a neighbor of her parents who sets off the Creep-dar of both her AND her husband.

This may be a case of Fred just not knowing his boundaries but are people supposed to wait until AFTER someone has hurt a child to ask these questions? Some of the responses are baffling to me. But because Fred "looks" like a harmless guy, everyone should just give him the benefit of the doubt even though he gives the parents of two very young children the creeps?

The annals of history are full of psychopaths that people thought "looked" damn normal.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #71)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:50 AM

76. When both parents smell a rat, you gotta sit up and take notice.

I'm not feeling a lot of these mitigating remarks, either! That Sandusky guy looked like a total sweetheart, didn't he? Until we found out he was brutalizing little boys--now he looks like a monster in a Happy Grampy suit!

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #29)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:59 PM

67. the best comment in the whole thread

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:49 AM

25. Prudie's an idiot.

She replies: "If you see every friendly man as a potential predator..."

The writer never said that, idiot! She wrote that she and her husband are creeped out only by this man.

Whatever Prudie advises, do the opposite.

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Response to Prometheus Bound (Reply #25)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:17 AM

101. Agree completely..

unless prude knows the man there is no way for her to advise he is no threat, and is reckless to have done so.

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Response to Prometheus Bound (Reply #25)


Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:37 AM

30. Is the reason she and her hubby are "totally creeped out" because of the gifts? Or is it

something else?

I think everyone should go with their instincts however nothing she has described sounds at all scary to me. That said, if she's neurotic and overprotective that is less detrimental to the child than if she is right and he is a predator.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:22 AM

34. We have a pesky sixth sense, that tingle on our necks, for a reason

It doesn't sound to me that the mom is creeped out by every male senior citizen, yet there is something about this particular senior that gives the parents the creeps and has the mom alarm bells ringing. I agree with all those who say listen to that message she's receiving. I'd rather come across as paranoid and be wrong than do nothing and find out later I'd been right. I know some folks here don't put a lot of faith into the statistics of rape/sexual assault but I think the number is something like 1 in 4 girls are molested--better safe than sorry 'cause being molested can create a world of hurt for those it effects.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:35 AM

35. I disagree with Prudence's response on this one. The parents should listen to their instincts.

If I were the mother I would consult some experts who know about child molesters and how to protect her children from them. My guess is that this situation could be handled by ensuring that the children are never alone with the people who worry the parents. Engaging these neighbors in conversation, staying nearby when they visit, just generally shining the light of day on any interactions the man and his wife have with their children might be all it takes to protect the children, just in case. This means that the mom is going to have to insist that her parents keep a close eye when the grandchildren are visiting.

Elaborately wrapping seashells and feathers as gifts for a five year old is unusual. It doesn't matter if it is the man or his wife doing the wrapping. Wives are often witting or unwitting enablers of pedophiles. Better safe than sorry.

And people saying "what has the world come to" must not realize how many people have been abused by pedophiles over the years, many of them not believed because "things like that never happen."

As another advice columnist used to say, "Wake up and smell the coffee."

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:50 AM

36. At a Loss and her husband are both lunatics

They watch too much ID Discovery or some such.

Prudence is correct.

And - judging from the responses in this thread - our society is totally fucked in its root.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #36)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:22 AM

40. Only a lunitic would make such a statement

without ever having seen the body language of the giver. To error on the side of caution is prudent when one's children are concerned. To deny that there are sexual predators in all age groups, walks of life, and social statuses is naive and dangerous. They are there, always have been, always will be people who are preying on others. People who deny these things simply are wrong.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:15 AM

39. I suspect her suspicion is less about the gifts

and more about the body language of the gift giver. Without seeing the person it is impossible for any of us to speculate if the woman is justified. I believe my wife could watch the interaction for 5 minutes and accurately tell if it is malignant or benign. We spent years interviewing criminal suspects and investigating suspicions, her accuracy rates with perverts (both those driven by adults and children) was astounding.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #39)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 11:53 AM

46. Exactly. Read Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker.

I always trust my instincts when it comes to strangers and my children. If her "mommy-warning sirens are screaming," then they are doing so for a reason.

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Response to Butterbean (Reply #46)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:00 PM

48. I believe that is the key..

I also believe in "women's intuition". My wife's uncanny ability to see, is based in her belief in her intuition. Her belief in her intuition results in her ability to sense subtleties others disregard.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:05 PM

49. If it was me

And my warning sirens were going off? I'd pay attention to them. If the girls are going to stay a long weekend, I would make SURE that they are kept safe and supervised by the grandparents. I don't think it is overboard to be concerned - I think it makes sense.

So what if it embarrasses Fred and Wilma? Better a little embarrassment for two elderly people than to have a young child's innocence ripped away for life.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:14 PM

53. Talk to your parents about having a "Discovery Day" at their home...

Last edited Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:09 PM - Edit history (1)

Maybe other seniors in the neighborhood could contribute an item, also.
Arrange all items on a table with a simple name tag and a blurb from a book or the nets on what
each item is. Make it a learning experience for both girls.
Let Fred know this is the best way to do this and he should deliver these found
items personally to grandma and grandpa
and then pick a future date and invite
others...like the parents, also to Discovery Day...if Fred and Wilma don't show up
then I suspect they have issues beyond what any child needs to deal with.

Tikki

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:42 PM

56. My gut feeling is that the parents are overreacting.

When did making a small nice gesture toward a child become "grooming"?

Probably back in the dark days of the Reagan era.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #56)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:57 PM

66. Maybe when

most child molesters started giving small gifts to children they were in fact grooming them for inappropriate touch or worse...IOW forever. Just because for centuries people denied, overlooked, and tolerated child victimizers doesn't mean we should continue on the same track forever. Men giving gifts or overt attention to children who they barely know is worthy of attention of the parents, and most who aren't trying to groom kids don't behave this way. We talk to kids in our neighborhood, they come into our yard to talk to us, unless their parents are with them or there is an injury, they will not come into our house. It is too bad it is this way, it is too bad kids are abused, raped, kidnapped and killed every day but that is the reality of humanity, always has been..always will be. Error on the side of caution with your children..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #66)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:46 PM

122. It is simply not appropriate to give gifts to minor children in these cases.

These people are not family, there is not a birthday or other occasion to which they have been invited, they have not asked the parents if it's OK.

Period! It's not appropriate!

Just tell the grandparents that you have a rule, no presents unless the parents approve! Period!

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:09 PM

57. Flashing RED light

if they are giving gifts to only one child and not the other, as you suggest. That could indeed be "grooming" to establish trust. I would tell your parents to never, ever allow the kids to be alone with these people or you will not bring the kids to visit anymore. And I would tell the kids to not trust any other adults and go off alone with them for any reason, including these people, unless something previously planned by you and your husband specifically. These people could just be creepy with no actual plan to do anything, but everyone forewarned to be extra cautious is forearmed just in case. The creepy people don't even have to be "insulted". They can just be told we cultivate the habit of not trusting anyone outside of family until the children are old enough to protect themselves. it is a habit we cultivate for safety. Hard to argue with that.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:15 PM

58. Remind me to always yell at the kids...

... to "GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN!"

Wouldn't want to be mistaken for trying to "come on" to them, would I?

What a world we've become...

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Response to BiggJawn (Reply #58)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:11 PM

60. I wouldn't use the word "fuck" though

 

what with all the other implications it carries.

Probably best to have a safe room that you can hide in (with a CCTV running full time to a data base offsite run by a third party) should kids ever knock on your door.

/we go way to overboard with the assumption that every male is just waiting for some parent to turn her back and then . . .

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:15 PM

61. I had a discussion with an ex boyfriend about helping a child in distress, say a lost child.

He said that no way would he attempt to offer a ride to an apparently lost child, because people would be suspicious of him.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #61)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 09:29 PM

68. Men will always be a sexual suspect in such circumstances

A male friend of mine who is an elementary school teacher was treated completely different than his female colleagues. The women teachers were allowed to accompany a child of either gender into the bathroom. He was not allowed to do so with either boys or girls. If one of his students needed assistance, he had to call one of the women to do it.

Likewise, I was highly offended at my church when I realized a woman could be alone with a group of children for Sunday school, but a man, any man, he to have another adult present if he was teaching children under 12 years old.

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Response to marshall (Reply #68)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:45 AM

73. Right, because we're MEN, y'know? And we always think with our dicks, y'know?

Even us old ones without functioning dicks...

Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that we might want to pass knowledge down to the kids or something.
Maybe if we set up the drill press and table saw out in the front yard out in front of the FSM and everybody.

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Response to marshall (Reply #68)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:00 AM

77. Your church is full of morons. That school is full of idiots, too.

Has no one at your church seen the plethora of female child abusers who have been arrested, tried and convicted?

They're out there. While men are more commonly predators, women don't get a free pass.

I think team teaching is a good idea, whenever possible. It doesn't just protect the kids, it protects the teachers as well.

Interesting stats: http://faq.acf.hhs.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/70/~/who-typically-abuses-children%3F

According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System's (NCANDS) most current report, Child Maltreatment 2010, an estimated 81percent (81.2) of duplicate perpetrators were parents of the victim, including birth parents, adoptive parents, and stepparents. Of the parents who were perpetrators, an estimated than 84 percent (84.2) were biological parents, about 4 percent were stepparents, and about 1 percent (0.7) were adoptive parents. Relatives, other than parents, accounted for an additional 6 (6.1) percent and an unmarried partner of a parent accounted for 4 percent (4.4) of perpetrators.

In analyzing the victim data by relationship to the perpetrator, the 2010 data found that approximately one-half (53.6%) of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were women and slightly more than 45 percent (45.2%) were men. An estimated 84% (84.2) of unique perpetrators were between the ages of 20 and 49 years. (See Chapter 3: Children for more information.)


http://faq.acf.hhs.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/68/kw/sexual%20abuse

According to Child Maltreatment 2010, the most recent report of data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), a nationally estimated 754,000 duplicate and 695,000 unique number of children were found to be victims of child maltreatment in the Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2010. This year more than one-half of States (29) reported a decreased number of victims when compared to FFY 2009.

Based on the unique number of victims, an estimated 78 percent (78.3) suffered neglect, an estimated 18 percent (17.6) were physically abused, an estimated 9 percent (9.2) were sexually abused, an estimated 8 percent (8.1) were psychologically maltreated, and an estimated 2 percent (2.4) were medically neglected. In addition, an estimated 10 percent of victim (10.3) experienced "other" types of maltreatment such as "abandonment," "threats of harm to the child," and "congenital drug addiction."

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Response to Quantess (Reply #61)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:55 AM

78. that show "what would you do" put a lost child on the street, crying to people "I'm lost"

men just walked on by. Women stopped.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #78)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 06:18 AM

80. He is a super nice guy, and very helpful in general. More considerate than most!

But if it came to helping a stranger's lost child, no, that would be too risky for him, he felt.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 05:52 PM

62. Listen to your warning sirens.

Mommies tend to have alot of intuitive fear.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:39 PM

65. its a sad world when any and all acts of kindness is looked upon as sinister and insidious

 

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Response to Sea-Dog (Reply #65)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:55 AM

79. agreed n/t

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Response to Sea-Dog (Reply #65)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:22 AM

81. +1

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Response to Sea-Dog (Reply #65)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:48 AM

83. It's not kindness to give a gift to one child & leave the other out.

That is something else. And it's pretty obvious. The wife of the neighbor, as is often the case, is in denial...choosing instead to believe as you do.

I can tell you that if some old guy friend of my grandpa's had singled me out of my siblings and repeatedly brought me little gifts, all wrapped up with ribbons....my grandpa would've stopped that immediately! That is TOTALLY inappropriate and obvious. My grandpa wouldn't have accused the man of anything, but the man would've disappeared, from my pt of view, and he never would've been present again when us kids were there.

It could be that the kid who is singled out by the neighbor reminds the elderly neighbor of someone. There could be some reason besides a perv reason. But whatever it is, it IS obviously inappropriate.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #83)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:17 AM

85. i wouldn't give a 2 year old a shell would you?

 

paranoid world we live in. every man is a beast isn't he?

repeat after me
fear is our god
fear is our god
fear is our god

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Response to Sea-Dog (Reply #85)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:26 AM

87. Why would you single out one of the many gifts the neighbor brought/bought the child?

And leave out the important point that the sister standing next to her was left out entirely.

And the next day brought a gift.

And the next day brought a gift.

And the next day brought a gift.

He's either a perv or she reminds him of a grandchild who died or something. There's something wrong there. It must be stopped w/o actually accusing him of anything. Or just tell him they're uncomfortable with a non-relative giving so many gifts to a child, esp when leaving out the sibling. Or I'd just find excuses to keep the children away from them.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #87)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:04 AM

98. i wouldn't hand a feather or a rock to a 2 year old either would you?

 

remember
fear is god
fear is god
fear is god

There's something wrong there


its called accusing people of insidious acts and the general sickness in believing all has evil intent.
It looks like witch hunting is alive and well.. thank god eh?

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:55 AM

84. This thread just shows how badly we've stereotyped men in this society....

Were this an elderly woman giving a child a token gift, there wouldn't even be the slightest worry. Yet a man does the same thing and suddenly we've already judged that he's grooming the kid for molestation.

This story reminds me of my elderly neighbor who used to always bring us Coke (Cola, not drugs) when we were kids running around outside in the summertime (Back in the 80's). And before y'all start going on about statistics (which I know already will be the response to this), most abuse happens from members of one's own family. Perhaps the person in question should be just as wary of the people caring for her kids (who are in private places alone with the kids), as they are about a person who sees the kid only in public places.

Parents need to do a little less stereotyping of strangers, and a little more education to their kids about what they should do to keep safe.

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Response to eek MD (Reply #84)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:57 AM

91. Back when I was a kid

I'm mid-40s now, there was an elderly man who used to give us kid Yoo-Hoo drinks in the Summer. He was semi-reclusive, lived in a trailer, and, if he did that now, whoa.

Parents should always go their gut feelings, but gifts like a shell, feather, a rock-

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Response to XanaDUer (Reply #91)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:59 PM

138. What if this guy

(maybe even with collaboration of his wife), has spent his life perfecting his technique? Perhaps these particular gifts are very deliberate? Perhaps there is a very interesting and unusual story which can be illustrated with these items? I don't know.


I spent years as a defense investigator. I have seen the face of child victimizers and it looks like a neighbor. I have known people who have spent their lives perfecting their obsession for children, all active pedophiles do and most have from their early to mid teens. Thankfully, by the time I met them they were either in jail or charged with a serious offense..I believe there are some who are free as birds and continuing their craft..

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Response to eek MD (Reply #84)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:15 AM

100. Like not accepting gifts from strangers?

"Parents need to do a little less stereotyping of strangers, and a little more education to their kids about what they should do to keep safe."

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Response to pipoman (Reply #100)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:04 PM

133. So I take it you won't let your kids eat candy on Halloween?

Or aren't these considered "gifts"?

It is possible for children to have communication with people they might not know well, yet still know enough not to get into someone else's automobile, home, or other (non-public) place. Children don't have to be shut away from society in order to practice basic safety.

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Response to eek MD (Reply #133)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:46 PM

136. We always took our kids to neighborhoods

where people we know lived, and yes there were some houses we told them not to go to....a benefit of living in a small town, we know everyone. Also, Halloween is kids going looking for candy, the OP is an adult giving unsolicited gifts to a child.

Nobody has said kids should be shut away from society. Seems to me you are saying people should avoid their gut instincts, that is dangerous. The mother in the OP states her warning bells went off after having met this person..that this particular person "totally creeps" her and her husband out. Most people who say such things have been influenced by the actions or mannerisms of the person, the mother may not be able to put her finger on it. It can be the way he looks at the child, a discrete "tell" that the person displays (licking lips, winking, etc), it may be something very subtle which makes them feel uncomfortable. What ever the case, if the parent feels this way, how is it wrong to react by not wanting your child around this person?

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Response to pipoman (Reply #136)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:58 PM

137. "gut instincts"

My father had "gut instincts" every time we were around "black folks" or "homos" growing up (Edited to add... His words, not mine). It didn't make him a good parent for being concerned for our safety. It made him a racist bigot because he bought into negative stereotypes about people. Also, it warped the views of all of my siblings growing up.

In this situation, the whole "stay away from that creepy guy" reaction will just reinforce the stereotype that men are predators for the child, whereas some simple advice about "public spaces" vs. "Private spaces" would be just as helpful without turning her against half of the world's population.

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Response to eek MD (Reply #137)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:18 PM

139. Or it may save her child's life or innocence..

"In this situation, the whole "stay away from that creepy guy" reaction will just reinforce the stereotype that men are predators for the child, whereas some simple advice about "public spaces" vs. "Private spaces" would be just as helpful without turning her against half of the world's population. "


There is no indication that any other men have been tagged by the mother. If this is the case, this lesson is that most people are fine, but if someone makes you uncomfortable, listen.

We are all products of our life's experiences..You are seeing your dad where there is no indication of anything similar. If you are a parent and have never came into contact with a person you didn't want your child around, maybe your childhood triggered shutting off of your visceral instincts to your own detriment?

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Response to pipoman (Reply #139)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:34 PM

140. Your critique of my parenting abilities as detrimental is noted...and rejected...

There is also no indication that the man was "Licking his lips" and "winking" at the child.... yet you seemed to have no problem adding it into the scenario. In fact, the OP clearly states that there is no "proof or even suspicion of impropriety on the man's part". Reading that you deal with neighborhood "pervs" often in your job, I'm not going to fault you for your "gut instincts" in the same way that I would fault my father for his bigoted racist instincts. Perhaps if I were molested growing up, my opinion would be different also.

However, that being said, I still think that children need to know that the majority of people in this world have good intentions. It is possible to teach safety to children without turning your kid into someone that views everyone in the world as a potential rapist/murderer/thief/etc....Frankly, I don't give a shit if you think that my parenting style is detrimental to my kid.

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Response to eek MD (Reply #84)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:45 AM

110. If this person were a woman it would be a story about the nice woman

 

who always has such wonderful gifts for the kids!


We get it, every male past puberty is a rapist/molester/pervert in some way or another. This is why you get stories of lost kids wondering down the street with plenty of witnesses but no one wants to intervene for fear of being labeled a pedophile.

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Response to eek MD (Reply #84)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:22 PM

117. We're a very stereotyped society

Which is a shame, because stereotypes are the result of lazy minds. It's not just men - it's everywhere. Hollywood doesn't help.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:24 AM

86. Isn't that called "grooming behavior"?

Get this man away from your child. NOW.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:40 AM

102. Not necessarily wrong. Especially since the gifts are things like feathers and rocks.

Sounds like an artistic minded person helping a child to open her imagination to me.

Grandfather presents.

My physical grandfathers died when my parents were children.

Thank goodness some kindly men stepped in and showed me how beautiful feathers are.

I thank g-d every day that I grew up in a time when old men weren't afraid to pull a child up on their knee and tell them a story.

Why not believe that their ARE kind people out there.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:53 AM

103. holy shit...one paragraph off a little known advice column and a mob jury gets formed

This thread has already formed a lynch mob and tossed the rope over the tree branch.

Love Internet message boards

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:58 AM

105. Tell your parent under no circumstances are your girls allowed to be alone with the neighbors. That

you don't have a good feeling, and too bad if it offends them. My mom would listen to what I had to say. I would tell them that
unfortunately, I have read one too many stories about grooming and child molestation. Please honor my request and be on the lookout.

No grandparent when presented with straight, matter of fact talk could argue. A grandparent would not want to put their grandkids in harms way. There are enough priest stories to scare any grandparent straight. No one would have questioned a priest back in their day.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:04 AM

106. Well, this could be a cause for concern or just some nice old folks.

The real answer is for the parents to get to know these people, through their own parents' acquaintance with them.

Talk with them. Find out what's going on and ask about those gifts they've been giving. Ask them why they're doing that. Be frank. If there's a reluctance to get to know you, or your questions don't produce acceptable answers, then keep the kids away and tell those people that they aren't allowed to see them or give them gifts like those.

I used to sell mineral specimens to collectors on the Internet. Since my wife and I rented an office suite for that and our other businesses, I converted one room of the suite into a mineral museum, complete with extensive display cases and even a self-guided audio tour so I didn't always have to quit other things when visitors showed up. It was fun, and I had hundreds of people, including whole school classes come there.

No child ever left that showroom/museum without being given a mineral specimen, complete with a label that explained what it was, where it came from, and other information. I bought material for those gifts specifically for that use. A few of the kids got interested in minerals and sometimes came to the offices and museum on their own. Others came with their parents. It was a great pleasure to introduce those children to something I found fascinating.

I don't have any children of my own, but like interacting with kids and trying to teach something when I do. Lots of people feel the same way, and enjoy seeing and talking with children. They're not dangerous people, or any risk to the safety of anyone. They just like kids.

When I was a child, there were adults not related to me who liked kids. I learned a lot from those friendly people. A few were important influences on my life, and I knew them for many years. None represented any risk to me, but my parents always took the time to get to know them. Some were neighbors. Some were people with interesting hobbies. Others were business owners who didn't mind the incessant questions kids have. All were terrific people, and my life would have been lessened had they not been in my childhood.

Knowledge is the key. Know people, and you won't be afraid of them. Know people, and you'll spot the ones who are potentially dangerous. But don't isolate your children from adults. Just get to know the adults and make informed decisions about them. Panic without knowledge is not a good thing.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:08 PM

114. There's not enough context, but always trust your instincts.

I find it a bit strange that he only gives gifts to one girl, and not the other (if not at least a little rude). Does the wife come with him when he gives the gifts? Does she give gifts too?

I think this is the type of situation where you be polite, but don't leave her alone with him.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:34 PM

118. I have subscribed to the theory that red flags go up for a reason

Since I'm a gay man I don't have children of my own, but I have a niece and nephews (now grown). I know how I'd feel if it were my niece and I don't like the idea at all. It's just not appropriate for some strange man to shower a child whose not his own or his kin with little presents. It IS creepy and it would totally weird me out if it were my niece.

It could be grandfatherly, but I don't think your spidey-sense would be tingling if it totally were.

Be diplomatic in case we're both wrong. From your description, I don't think so.

There are appropriate ways to gift. "A" seashell for nothing would be one thing, but a stream of them just seems, mm, unusual. For instance, my partner and I have one neighbor family who have two children, 6 and 14. When they do well in school or help with chores, we will offer something to the entire family that the parents can divide as they see fit: a favorite kind of cake for a birthday that's given to that family to share, a bit of pocket money for helping out -- again those go through the parents and we ask them what THEY feel is an appropriate reward. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I believe adults should interact with adults. Anything else just seems creepy to me.

Their kids are being brought up with loving guidance and discipline. It would not be appropriate for anyone to go against that. It's called respect. I wouldn't like someone breaking my stride and I wouldn't do that to someone else.

Their children, their rules. For my own blood or my sister-in-law's, her rules in her house, my rules (taken from her guidance) in mine. Yes, I'm a little strict, but they're all I have for children. It would kill me if anything happened to them. Your kids, your rules.

That gentleman, if he feels the need to share something, SHOULD go through you and no one else. NO one else, not even your children's grandparents.

Again, I know how I'd feel if it were my own child or my brother's children. You're entirely justified to protect your children in the best way you see fit.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:34 PM

119. Have a little more insight.

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 12:38 PM

120. the fact something is given to on exclusively, alone, would have me saying, knock it the fuck off

there is a problem somewhere if the gifts are given to only one of two children. that is wrong.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 03:56 PM

132. As for the bookstore thing . . .

Every Christmas for the past 30 years or so (and probably for several more years to come), I have generally done some shopping in a children's' section of a bookstore. Why? Because, even though I have no children of my own, I have 12 nieces and nephews and 13 (soon to be 15!) grand-nieces and grand-nephews. The suggestion that I am somehow not to be trusted in a children's section of a bookstore is profoundly offensive!

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #132)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:11 PM

145. Amen, brother!

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 10:56 AM

142. Wow. It's a shame people treat men this way, especially on DU

where we try to see everyone equally and with compassion.

Gifts are innocent and fun. The little girl will always remember her weekends away where "Fred" would give her a gift and what a nice person he was. It will probably encourage her to do the same as she gets older.

Sure the parents should be aware of the situation and should meet Fred and Wilma if they have any concerns (which is very strange that they would even have concerns in this scenario), and they should definitely freak out if Fred is wanting alone time, but gift giving to children is what old people do. It makes them happy to make kids happy.

There's an old guy here at the local supermarket that we see a lot who gives out balloons to all the kids he encounters. Whenever he sees a balloon he runs over and gives the kid a balloon. He doesn't work there, just some old guy who hangs around and chooses to do something fun with this days rather than sit around his house alone and be drunk all day like both of my grandfathers did.

I think the mom here needs to talk to a therapist as she obviously has some issues here she's never delt with and she needs to figure out before she passes those on unnecessarily to her innocent kids.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Reply #142)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:56 PM

148. He only gives balloons to one child in particular, at the expense of all others...?

"There's an old guy here at the local supermarket that we see a lot who gives out balloons to all the kids he encounters...."

I imagine people may think differently about if he only gave balloons to one child in particular, at the expense of all others...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #148)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 01:25 PM

149. I wasn't making a direct comparison....you're missing the point.

Nice try though!

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:03 PM

143. Back in my hometown

 

There is a beloved retired gym teacher who hands out shiny silver dollars to kids. He's just a kindly old man with a soft spot in his heart that everyone knows. (And the kids he's handing these out to these days are often the children of his former students!)

As to why the old man in the letter isn't giving anything to the younger daughter, perhaps it's because he feels she's too young for such presents. She is, after all, only 2. A 2-year-old would be more prone to sticking shells and sand dollars in their mouths than cherishing them.

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Response to SaB2012 (Reply #143)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:43 PM

147. there's a big difference between a 5 year old and a 2 year old....

I know one of each. The 2 year old can hardly communicate coherently with people and is obsessed with Elmo. Not exactly the kind of person someone can have any sort of intelligent type of connection with. The 5 year old on the other hand is interested in the outdoors and bugs and rocks and the moon and stars and animals and is constantly asking questions about stuff and trying to learn as much as possible.

Probably the old guy and her have some similar interests about something and have a connection. She probably asks lots of questions and he probably has lots of knowledge so they get along well and he enjoys giving her meaningful gifts that she probably thinks is cool.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:11 PM

144. To everyone calling this "grooming"

 

That's quite a bit of a leap, a bit paranoid and completely unfair to the accused. He hasn't done anything other than give a child some "presents" that he picked up off the beach. He's probably got a pocket full of these things to hand out to any child that passes by who seems old enough to responsibly handle such items.

Honestly, if you look up information about child grooming, what this man is doing is pretty innocuous and hardly in line with what is the typical pattern that psychologists and law enforcement experts have identified.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 12:20 PM

146. More often than not, I'll give a mom any benefit of the doubt

More often than not, I'll give a mom any benefit of the doubt as it relates to her feelings of the direct and indirect protection of her children.

And, as the worst that may come of it (all things being equal) is little more than adult being prevented from giving gifts to or seeing a child not of his own family, it seems, at wost, a most benign thing.

There are a lot of people I am acquainted with of which I have no concrete or substantial knowledge of that I practice to avoid-- as they do indeed, creep me out.

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