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A friend who is not living above reproach


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#1 Herman G.

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:53 PM

I humbly request your advice on how to "deal" with a good friend of mine. I've known him since we were toddlers and we're certainly close. We grew up in the same Evangelical church together and he was very active in volunteering. He's an extremely kind hearted person and loves to serve others. Like many of us who grew up in that church, we had a very weak spiritual foundation. While my friend is very humble and kind, he does not have a deep spiritual life at all. I've begun to pray for him at church that he may find a deeper connection and come to the knowledge of truth.

Now the issue is this...he is a man in his older twenties and single. He's recently begun hanging out with the family of a gentleman he works with (family dinners and vacations). This family has a 14 year old daughter who has made it quite clear that she enjoys my friend's company. She texts and calls him constantly (well over a 100 messages a day), keeps him up late talking, and even asks her parents to have him pick her up (they're alone in the vehicle quite abit). The parents have even had my friend "house sit" alone (to my understanding) with their daughter when they go on weekend holidays. Recently she stole his phone and began texting me and trying to act like him. When I noticed the odd behavior, she confessed and said that he was hanging out in her room. She sent me a picture to prove it and one involved him playing with her underwear (or she claimed was her's). I confronted him on the pictures and he didn't really answer. Basically said that they were just being silly and that the girl's mom was there.

I feel absolutely worried about the situation and would hate to see his life ruined. Oddly, the girl's parents not only enable the situations but actually encourage them. I have a sneaking suspicion that the mother has a crush on my friend as well due to her odd facebook status updates about him. This would explain why she wants him over so much. Again, I have no proof that anything wrong has occurred, however, it's certainly not above reproach. Even if an adult was present during each of the times (although I can prove twice none were), the relationship seems obsessive and unhealthy.

What's the proper response to a friend who is outside of the church? I'm horribly non-confrontational (even more so with close friends and family), so I'm not sure how to handle this situation.

#2 Ryan

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:03 PM

I'm also a horribly non-confrontational person and have, in many instances, paid dearly for it or caused suffering for others because of my weakness. This is definitely a case to speak out to your friend with exactly what he needs to hear. Obviously I'm not personally familiar with your situation, but from what you've written I can think of no other option than to simply steel yourself to say what you are loath to say, but which must be said. There's no guarantee he'll listen to you- perhaps he'll get angry with you- but the possibilities are too dark to leave in silence. Even if he is really entirely innocent in this matter, the family sounds downright dangerous and society and law enforcement are, to say the least, unsympathetic to men in such situations. He needs to firmly break it off and as his friend I think the most loving thing you can do is step in and speak up. Don't think of it as reproaching him so much as pushing him out of the way of a speeding train.

#3 Nicolas Bertrand

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

Let your friend be, but share with him that you are afraid he will sexually abuse a 14 year old girl.

Then gives your worries to God. Let them be. Their life, their struggle, not yours.

Lastly, I find it a bit strange that you pray "he may find a deeper connection and come to the knowledge of truth", this sounds just like my friends that are in an anabaptist christian sect that "pray for me to be closer to Jesus"... ;-)!

In Christ,

Nicolas
xxx

#4 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:07 PM

I agree with Ryan. Man up and tell him to break things off right away or you'll tell the parents. You might also ask a lawyer to advise you on how much information you need to go to the police.

#5 Keith Cheesman

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:09 PM

You need to report this to the authorities now. Someone trained to deal with these issues can investigate and make the proper judgement about the situation. You need to hand this over so that it is not your responsibility. It is better to risk being wrong, than to risk real abuse occurring. Otherwise you are putting yourself in a morally, if not legally, dangerous position.

#6 Herman G.

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:24 PM

You need to report this to the authorities now. Someone trained to deal with these issues can investigate and make the proper judgement about the situation. You need to hand this over so that it is not your responsibility. It is better to risk being wrong, than to risk real abuse occurring. Otherwise you are putting yourself in a morally, if not legally, dangerous position.


Seems like I owe him at least a conversation first. I'd certainly rather see him confess, repent, and get away from the situation. Especially if an impropriety hasn't been committed yet.

I understand that I need to have the conversation, I guess what I'm asking is for advice on what to say. I was hoping someone had dealt with a friend in a seemingly inappropriate relationship before.

#7 Keith Cheesman

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:48 PM

Seems like I owe him at least a conversation first. I'd certainly rather see him confess, repent, and get away from the situation. Especially if an impropriety hasn't been committed yet.

I understand that I need to have the conversation, I guess what I'm asking is for advice on what to say. I was hoping someone had dealt with a friend in a seemingly inappropriate relationship before.


Your reluctance to report this is entirely natural. Believe me, I understand, I have been in a similar situation more than once. I can tell you from my own experience and from the safeguarding training that I've had, it is always better to report it. A grazed knee might be something that has a innocent explanation, but what you have described is a serious cause for concern, even if no "impropriety" has yet occurred, things need to be nipped in the bud before it does. The well being of the child comes before any other consideration here. I'm not sure what the system is in the US, but you should raise your concerns with your equivalent to social services rather than law enforcement. If no harm is done and the situation is innocent, then they will see that and leave. However, they are much more capable of spotting abuse and/or preventing it than you are, and are sufficiently removed from the situation to make a more rational judgement. You have already indicated in your post several reasons for serious concern, don't let your friendship and the natural inclination to assume innocence cloud your judgement.

Edited by Keith Cheesman, 15 October 2012 - 07:50 PM.
Fixed some typos


#8 Phoebe K.

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:17 PM

Speaking from a uk perspective there is a the pertenchal for their to be a problem. A friendship is impermissible but it has to be kept proper and in public, no or as little time as possible not in the sight a hearing of others. such relaionshps must be dome properly and with no chance of suspistion, once the age of consent is reached things can be relacked but untill then while one member of the friendship is under that age it is inportant to keep it all above bourd to prevent rumers which could ruin both and privet acctivitys which can lead to desaterus activity.

Please warn your friend and as if he is not careful things could go very wrong and as he is the adult the responsibility falls on him. He needs to draw back and keep it to a hands off friendship at closes until she is of age of consent, and never be alone with her until then. if he dose not lissen by all means speak to her perents about your conserns as it is part of what it means to be a parent to protect under-age children.

feel free to PM me as i have worked in youth work before becoming orthodox.

Phoebe

#9 Ryan

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:27 PM

I'm not sure if reporting the authorities is necessarily the immediate next step. Obviously a very inappropriate relationship exists; exactly how far it has gone is uncertain. Aside from the obvious danger to the girl, there is much that could go wrong without anything actually happening. The apparent complicity of the parents is a further disturbing aspect. If ever things go afoul- even if there is simply a disagreement over something- the family could easily bring the hammer down on your friend, with plenty of evidence and without any earthly consequences for themselves.I believe, if possible, persuading the friend to end the relationship is the first thing to do. If that doesn't work, then bringing in authorities may indeed be an urgent necessity.

What to say: good question! I do have a little experience giving someone advice about a bad relationship that he doesn't want to hear. Here's my advice, and if it doesn't look right, disregard it (and the same is true of everything else I've said).

I would say something along these lines: So-and-so, please let me be frank about something, and hear me out. I don't presume to know what exactly is going on, but everything I see about this relationship tells me there's something wrong. Not only are you in danger of being involved in a serious moral fall and a crime, but you could even be falsely accused of one and put away for it. As your long-time friend, I am worried and I strongly advise you to put an immediate, clear stop to the relationship with this girl. No more texting, no more driving her places, no more hanging out at their house. If you care for this girl and for yourself, that's the only way. If this strains relations with your co-worker, that is far preferable to causing serious turmoil in his family and you being imprisoned, rightly or wrongly. I'm not here to judge you or accuse you of anything or threaten you- my fundamental concern is for your safety, well-being, and salvation.

Be polite, understanding, but firm. Don't let him divert the subject or interrupt you. Don't let him dismiss it easily, and don't let him off with a handy explanation. Make sure he's heard you. Heard, mind you, not necessarily agreed. He probably won't agree, at least at first.

If you have other friends in common who know the situation, it might be good to get them involved too.

I hope this helps.




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