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Anna
Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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Moral, Ethical, Spiritual Dilemma I am the mother of two

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Moral, Ethical, Spiritual Dilemma:

I am the mother of two grown sons, 42 & 43. My oldest son, spiraling in and out of pschosis at age 17, had the horrid experience of being molested by a trusted male youth leader in our church. He was hospitalized for depression, and after he told me what happened, I informed the church; the leader was expelled from ministry, apologized (as if that erases the damage), and subsequently OD'd on drugs two years later and died. A personal friend, he had sworn to me previously he had done nothing to no one else, including my younger son. I believed him.

Since my younger son, then 16, had been in an ongoing mentoring relationship with this church leader the previous year and a half, (I was separated from my ex-husband at the time) I was terribly concerned that he, also, had become a victim, but my youngest son said no.

Now I find out 25 years after the fact that he did not tell me the truth; this youth leader used to take alcohol on youth retreats and use it to seduce his charges. My younger son was molested; as also, he believes, were several other boys. Unfortunately, he didn't have the courage to admit this to me until just recently. He doesn't want to talk to his brother about it (who has been plagued with Schizophrenia the past 20 years) or the church. I worry about the other boys, now men, who were undoubyedly hurt by this leader, but since this man has been dead many years and no one else spoke up, I don't know what my responsibility is in this now.

I can't discuss this with anyone except my husband becaue of confidentiality issues with my sons. Now what?
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Your first priority should be to your son, so if he doesn't want to talk to people about it, I would support him in that. I would ask his permission to tell the clergy leaders what you've found out. They may have a procedure to reach out to other suspected victims that could prove helpful to others. Some of the churches now have a hotline that you can report to and ask questions about how to proceed.

What I would be wondering about is the other boys/now men who were on these trips. We know they're hurting on some level, but once a person's trust and innocence are violated, holding onto control of their own story is very important to them. So above all else, I would support your own son's wishes about disclosure since the perpetrator in the story isn't in a position to harm others anymore.Anna40410.8645640046
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