There is no easy way to begin this message, so I'll just give it to you straight. A friend of mine recently told me she was molested several years ago by her piano teacher, and when I asked further about this, she told me that she never told her parents or a figure of authority. When I urged her to tell the police or her parents about this, she refused to. Normally, I would leave any decisions regarding such a personal and terrible matter to her, but it is believed that he is still working as a children's piano teacher in a nearby city. The thought of children being in danger of assault is unbearable, and I would have acted sooner if I believed my actions would have an immediate effect. This is where you gentleman can help. What is the best course of action to ensure that he is put to justice and unable to harm others? I need a plan of attack because the crime occurred several years ago and she needs to be on board for this if the attacker is to be imprisoned. She has refused all of my calls for action, and we are currently not on the best of terms. Any advice or words of experience would be greatly appreciated, especially from those with legal experience. Thank you.
Sadly, I have no advice for you in this matter. I will say Rebekah's advice seems to be good. Beyond that, all I can offer you is my encouragement and moral support. Your desire to do something about this awful crime, to protect others from the hurt your friend has suffered, is honourable and courageous.
Thank you, sir.
Wow, well thank you for sharing your son's experience. That is certainly an assurance that I am taking the proper course of action.
Like others have said I would tell some authority figure and you can probably decide better than us which one would be best to inform.
Your friend may resent you for it but hopefully as time passes she will come around and not hold it against you. I wouldn't push her to tell you the details because she could be embarrassed by it but let her know you are there if she needed to get something off her chest. You can tell someone about it and be there to support her still not knowing what actually happened she might need that.
I'm a mandated reporter so legally I'd have to call DCF or be at risk of losing my job. But simply because of a man's responsibility to keep others out of harm's way I'd report it anyhow. There's no need to include names (although it would help the investigation) and at that point it becomes the DCF's responsibility.
Just because what you say may not be enough to have an immediate effect doesn't mean that others may have come forward and you could be helping.
I want to second the motion on Rebecka's advice. I'm a teacher in a public high school, and as such, I'm a mandated reporter. Getting someone involved who knows how to talk to girls in this situation is crucial. As has been pointed out, there's SOME reason why she told you this--what did she expect you to do with the information? There are some secrets you simply have no right to keep to yourself.
"To Each Their Own"
There must be a reason for her to not want you to take action. Do not betray your friends trust.
You might not know the whole story. I'm not saying the man should go free. I'm saying that you are sitting in the wrong seat at the poker table.
I think we are in serious need of some perspective here. "Betraying your friend's trust" is telling her secrets around to peers or taking things she has said in confidence and divulging them to people who could use that information to hurt her. I understand the importance of keeping a friend's private business confidential, and under normal circumstances, I'd agree. But these are not normal circumstances, and the OP has no right to keep this information to himself. I'll take it a step further--the girl in this situation has no right to burden her friend with this secret and EXPECT him to keep it to himself. Can you imagine the guilt and shame he's going to feel if he sits on this information, and then realizes later on that by not speaking up, he helped this man hurt more kids? What if something devastating happens to his friend, and he has to live with the fact that he knew about this, but did nothing?
I understand this in very real way. When I was 18, I grew suspicious of a man who was closely involved with some friends of mine. I did what I thought I could about voicing my concerns, but the people I told basically took a "wait and see" approach. By the time it came out that he was raping young boys and threatening them with all kinds of things if they told, there were quite a few of us who, in our heart-of-hearts, knew what was going on, but we didn't want to jump the gun and get out of our place.
When it all came out and we found out the extent of it, the pervert went to prison---but I had to live with the guilt of not being more aggressive in stopping him before he hurt more people than he did. I vowed to myself then and there that NEVER AGAIN would I sit back and quietly let suspicions like that lie. I carried that guilt for years--just knowing that I should have been more proactive about my suspicions. In this case, we don't even have a suspicion---we have an accusation. If she didn't want him to act on it, she shouldn't have told him in the first place.
One final thought---if she were divulging suicide plans, would you encourage him to keep that a secret? What about plans to engage in criminal activity? Of course not---well, a crime is being committed here as well, people are getting hurt, and it's every bit as serious as those other issues.
Well said. The issue is not just one of keeping the friend's confidence vs. seeking justice for what was done to her, but of preventing further abuse of other children. If this man abused her, he is likely abusing others as well, and the OP's friend (who is a minor, and likely a traumatized one at that) is not competent to weigh the matter and decide--not only for herself, but for others who may also be victims.
I completely understand where you are coming from and after viewing your point, I admit, taking action would be the right thing to do. Especially if it prevents further harm from other people's kids. I have an 8 year old and I know that if something like this ever happened to my boy.... I would have blood on my hands. That being said, What if the girl is not telling the truth? I know that is a horrible thing to say but we don't know this girl. What if she is telling tales for attention. I knew girls in high school and college that would lie about things like this for attention and this girl is still a teenager... What if this piano teacher really didn't do anything.... What if he is a good family man like one of us and just gets socially sucker punched by an attention seeking teen. If law enforcement gets involved, it could lead to capturing a predator but it could also lead to ruining a good mans life. This friend that is in no way directly involved should not be the one to pull that trigger.
I'll defer to Shane about the social costs of ruining an innocent adult's life v. ruining lots of innocent children's lives. False accusations, pointing out particular accused criminals, are extremely rare. And CPS and law enforcement and prosecutors are all trained to detect them.
If the girl were looking for attention, statistically, she wouldn't have provided details like the dates and name. She wouldn't be asking for it to be kept a secret, and wouldn't be pushing OP away.
The one person I know who did have his life messed up because of baseless accusations of child abuse doesn't blame the kids who reported it, or the adults who investigated it. They all did the right thing and managed to find the accusation baseless. The problem came when they didn't follow the law and let him go even though the accusation was baseless.
All of which, BTW, is a good reason to start with CPS and its greater confidentiality policies before going to the police.