Molestation tied to dementia?

Full story: Chicago Tribune

Dear Abby: As a clinician specializing in geriatric mental health, I was concerned about your response to "Ambivalent in California." She asked whether to sever ties with her 85-year-old father after he ...

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st from Chicago

Springfield, IL

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#1
Nov 20, 2007
 
As a person who suffered molestation at the hands of a family member, I am astounded at how many people are making excuses for the abuser. Does anyone think it matters to the abused child whether the perpetrator suffers from dementia or not? NO EXCUSES - the poor child / children should NEVER have to be forced to be in the presence of this man. To "put family first" will cause these children to eventually feel betrayed, invalidated and ultimately abandoned by the very family members that were supposed to protect them. I hope the gentleman receives the proper medical attention. But to say that the children were not molested in a deliberate manner, so that makes it OK, is so very wrong. Shame on ALL of you willing to make excuses for anyone that in any way, dementia or not, abuses a child.
Cardinal George

Berwyn, IL

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#2
Nov 20, 2007
 
st from Chicago wrote:
As a person who suffered molestation at the hands of a family member, I am astounded at how many people are making excuses for the abuser. Does anyone think it matters to the abused child whether the perpetrator suffers from dementia or not? NO EXCUSES - the poor child / children should NEVER have to be forced to be in the presence of this man. To "put family first" will cause these children to eventually feel betrayed, invalidated and ultimately abandoned by the very family members that were supposed to protect them. I hope the gentleman receives the proper medical attention. But to say that the children were not molested in a deliberate manner, so that makes it OK, is so very wrong. Shame on ALL of you willing to make excuses for anyone that in any way, dementia or not, abuses a child.
yada, yada, yada!
clelia

Banfield, Argentina

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#3
Nov 20, 2007
 
Once a molester, always a molester. Only thing old age does is that these perverts loose some of the inbuilt strategies they had during their whole life. I know it. I experienced it...
How many ¨model parents¨¨columns of society¨ do you know who turned out to have been low life degenerates who molested their children during their whole life?
Forget?
Forgive?
Why?
Mom of a 9mth old girl

Lake Forest, IL

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#4
Nov 20, 2007
 
My mother suffers from Dementia. She has her problems and forgets allot of things. But if you never have the thoughts of molesting someone you never will. My mother would never do that to her grandkids.
I do not believe this is used as an excuse.
jar

New York, NY

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#5
Nov 20, 2007
 
What about people who suffer from Alzheimer's who suddenly have personality changes - the woman who never swore in her life now spouting filthy language; the man who was a proper gentleman all his life suddenly running around without his clothes?

I agree that no child should suffer abuse at the hands of a grownup, no matter who they are. Counseling is necessary for the child, but proper treatment is also necessary for the aging grownup who has changed.

Let's be fair to everyone here and not make any judgements until you KNOW the situation.
Jen

Hartford, CT

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#6
Nov 21, 2007
 
Jar - I agree with you. No one is saying that the abuse was right.

I think that the point of Abby's response was that maybe if the girl knew that her grandpa only molested her because of a MENTAL ILLNESS and not because he's a sick perverted old man would probably help her to get past it.
reza santorini

Skokie, IL

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#7
Nov 21, 2007
 
clelia wrote:
Once a molester, always a molester. Only thing old age does is that these perverts loose some of the inbuilt strategies they had during their whole life. I know it. I experienced it...
How many ¨model parents¨¨columns of society¨ do you know who turned out to have been low life degenerates who molested their children during their whole life?
Forget?
Forgive?
Why?
Wrong...a youngster who abuses is not an abuser for life. Sometimes it is just like playing doctor because they saw something that triggered an action. They may never do it again and it may even, if they were caught, make them afraid of sex. I'm not talking about a 20 year old. But, a therapist should be seen and it should be one who specializes in this type of abuse. No family needs to be broken up when therapy can help.
reza santorini

Skokie, IL

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#8
Nov 21, 2007
 
Mom of a 9mth old girl wrote:
My mother suffers from Dementia. She has her problems and forgets allot of things. But if you never have the thoughts of molesting someone you never will. My mother would never do that to her grandkids.
I do not believe this is used as an excuse.
Baloney...many nursing home inmates are so out of synch..I've seen a few try to nurse a baby (youngster)...just a tidbit. Watch your kids, it may scare them to see grandma act like that but she is just doing what is natural...nurturing.
Maria

Chicago, IL

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#9
Nov 21, 2007
 
jar wrote:
What about people who suffer from Alzheimer's who suddenly have personality changes - the woman who never swore in her life now spouting filthy language; the man who was a proper gentleman all his life suddenly running around without his clothes?
I agree that no child should suffer abuse at the hands of a grownup, no matter who they are. Counseling is necessary for the child, but proper treatment is also necessary for the aging grownup who has changed.
Let's be fair to everyone here and not make any judgements until you KNOW the situation.
Absolutely. I actually saw my gram change before my eyes. I spent an entire day with her. She was fine in the light hours. But she suffered from sundown syndrome. It was the strangest thing. As soon as the sun went down she said to me, who are you? I told her, it's me Maria gram, and then she asked me, when did you get here? It's like the mind is literally rotting. It was horrible as it got worse. Luckily she didn't "act out" but she did retreat into herself. It was heartbreaking.
Laura

United States

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#10
Nov 22, 2007
 
I have a grandfather who suffers from dementia and my husband whose aunt suffers from Alzheimer's.

It is amazing how many people who do NOT have medical degrees will say stuff pertaining to one or the other.
JUST because you know someone personally who has dementia or Alzheimer's does not mean that everyone is the same.

My uncle's aunt got to the point that she was a danger to herself and others. She was the sweetest person before and then she became violent and pulled a knife on her 20 year old grandson. Does that mean all that suffer from Alzheimer's will be the same?

NO and even doctors can not say how some one else may act either.

I took care of my grandfather 24/7 for the entire summer of 2006.

It showed me a lot of stuff I did not previously know or that what I thought/assumed is not always correct.

It is a mental illness and sometimes they have no idea what is going on or why they did something.

Consider just having eaten a breakfast and then stating you have not eaten in days.

It is heartbreaking to see.
fed up with excuses

Nashville, TN

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#11
Nov 24, 2007
 
Abuser and their familial enablers are notorious for doing everything possible to avoid accountability so they don't have to accept culpability for their actions while the victims are expected to join in sweeping everything under the rug! Everything from drunkenness to medications to hormones have been used to excuse away their evil behaviors. Therefore, I believe that families and law enforcement should only accept senior dementia after every other possible MO has been exhausted instead of eagerly using that as a Get Out of Jail and Responsibility Card. Even if dementia has proven to be the case, the victims should be protected from the abusers and there should be no more pretending these abusers are salt of the earth.
I agree 100 percent with st from Chicago and clelia that it's appalling that excuses are being so eagerly accepted!
Maria

Chicago, IL

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#12
Nov 26, 2007
 
fed up with excuses wrote:
Abuser and their familial enablers are notorious for doing everything possible to avoid accountability so they don't have to accept culpability for their actions while the victims are expected to join in sweeping everything under the rug! Everything from drunkenness to medications to hormones have been used to excuse away their evil behaviors. Therefore, I believe that families and law enforcement should only accept senior dementia after every other possible MO has been exhausted instead of eagerly using that as a Get Out of Jail and Responsibility Card. Even if dementia has proven to be the case, the victims should be protected from the abusers and there should be no more pretending these abusers are salt of the earth.
I agree 100 percent with st from Chicago and clelia that it's appalling that excuses are being so eagerly accepted!
Are some of these people looking for excuses? Or are they seeking explanations for obvious changes in behavior? Clearly there is no excuse for child abuse etc. However, and this is a big however, regardless as to whether or not the perpetrator has had some sort of biological change - or not- they need to be isolated from those that they can harm. period. I do think though, that it also has to be hard on the daughter, who knew her dad as a kind man, to have to accept the fact that he molested her daughter when that was just not his MO when she was a child. She is probabaly looking for an explanation in trynig to understand how this could possibly happend and not an excuse. The mother also wants answers. Just look at that other post about the man who is "too dangerous too hold." HIs mind is rot and he's become dangerous. It's awful.
fed up with excuses

Nashville, TN

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#13
Dec 1, 2007
 
Maria wrote:
<quoted text>
Are some of these people looking for excuses? Or are they seeking explanations for obvious changes in behavior?
Good questions, Maria. It's tricky because many enablers have put on Oscar-worthy performances for decades feigning ignorance of molestors' abuses-and feigning love for the victims to keep them quiet so the enablers' status quo would be in no way inconvenienced! Therefore, it's a certainty many of them would eagerly latch onto the 'dementia' excuse while faking seeking answers to outsiders. Maybe some of them wrote to Abby giving a spin that made them look(and the abusers) as good as possible instead of factual accounts so they and the abusers could reap the bounty of being considered above reproach by the mere declaration of victimhood! Yes, I know there are those family members genuinely seeking answers but I think it shows an appalling lack of integrity to desire to pretend an abuser is a saint even after the abuser has been found out to have harmed someone!
How many times have you heard of someone abusing a neighbor's child or a distant relative- and his immediate family immediately protesting his innocence but then(away from the abusers and enablers) the family members compare notes and realize that many of their members had themselves had been molested but had been urged to keep the secret by the abusers- and often by enablers! Clelia is absolutely right that once an abuser, always an abuser. Enablers are often very slippery characters capable of claiming the most noble of intents and motivations but, in reality, have no genuine love whatsoever for anyone in their family and merely consider everyone from the abusers to the victims to be pawns in their lives.
Be prepared for some of these abusers and enablers to guilt-trip genuine family members of those who suffered dementia into trying to include abusers and enablers as victims. Abusers and enablers are never to be trusted- or believed!
an abused

United States

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#14
Apr 1, 2008
 
i think you guys need to really think about each person's situation before you go on bashing people... earlier this week i was molested by my uncle, who i am extremely close to, who i found out a few days later has dementia... i still love him very much and i know he loves me... i've been researching the illness and i don't see how it's not possible that he thought i was someone else.. or that it was a different time or place.. if that's the case for other issues then why not now... it's not that this isn't seriously effecting me and that i'm not extremely upset... but i know it wasn't his fault and that he would never want to hurt me... but i'm not going to imediately point the finger at him in a hateful way... the best thing to do is tell the family and get the issue out in the open in the family.. see a doctor and make sure the victom, or any potential victom, is alone with him... soak that in and watch your damn judgements next time..
From New York

New York, NY

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#15
May 12, 2009
 
Obviously if the perpetrator did not have this illness when the crime was committed, it means nothing. Also, concerning one metnioned example, violent behavior such as threatening with a knife is distinctly different from violent sexual behavior.
I don't know much about these illnesses, but have experience with these situations in my family and friends.
If alzheimer's/dementia can cause such a change, it should be further publicized, especially in health institutions where the mentally ill reside.
Most importantly- whether it is your grandfather, uncle, or father- I would not let my young sister or daughter, or son, be alone with someone who was exhibiting dangerous, altered behavior!!
There is no excuse for this behavior. Not even mental dementia- Let's say that alzheimer's CAN cause a 'normal' person to suddenly exhibit 'predatory' behaviors. Then if you know about this change in behavior, it is your/our responsibility to keep a child away from the person exhibiting such behavior.
YOU DON'T NEED A DOCTOR TO TELL YOU THAT!!!
If they molested before they fell ill, it serves them right to suffer as much as possible. There are few crimes more grave or damaging to our most precious resource, and our very future- our children.
Confused

Deridder, LA

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#16
Mar 26, 2010
 
Jen wrote:
Jar - I agree with you. No one is saying that the abuse was right.
I think that the point of Abby's response was that maybe if the girl knew that her grandpa only molested her because of a MENTAL ILLNESS and not because he's a sick perverted old man would probably help her to get past it.
I disagree, as a 20yr old who was recently molested by her grandfather, twice on seperate occasions. Even though he has dementia when I look at him my head tells me that it wasn't my grandpa that did it, that he didn't realize it was me(although part of me doesn't beleive that he didn't). But I can't go anywhere near him now because when I look at him, he will always be the grandpa who was supposed to protect me not hurt me. It is always there in the back of your mind, so no it won't help her get past it. It is nearly impossible to disassociate someone who was supposed to protect you from someone who hurt you deeply.
Angry

Fayetteville, NC

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#17
Dec 30, 2012
 
My father-in-law molested my step daughter 17 years
ago.Alot of the family didn't believe her and testified in court against her.So the family still was around him.They didn;t have anything to do with him but they loved there mother dearly so holiday was still there.All thought was fine because he was elderly.That was until Christmas Eve
He struck again this time another grandaughter.A
75year old preverted man in my eyes.He molested two innocent children.Now they are trying to pull
the dementia card.The man was all into porn.So which family member is going to testify this time.
Please put him away so he can't ever hurt anyone
again.

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