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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Victim fears doing right

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar The Spokesman-Review

Dear Annie: “Beth” and I have been very good friends for 30 years. We grew up together. However, there is something going on that may destroy our friendship.

When we were children, Beth’s father molested her. As horrible as it was, she grew up to be very successful, and a wonderful, caring person. The problem is her father loves to play with the little girls on his street and give them gifts. He also mentors fatherless girls at their church, because they need a “male role model.” Beth knows about her father’s activities and told him what he is doing “isn’t appropriate,” but she has made no other move to stop him.

I contacted the county sheriff, but was told they can’t do anything unless someone presses charges. Beth is concerned that going after her dad would destroy her mother’s life. Beth’s mother knew Dad was molesting Beth as a child, but didn’t care enough to protect her and isn’t interested in protecting other children.

I am absolutely sick over this. I am terrified her father will victimize other children, if he hasn’t already. I’ve begged Beth to come forward, but she keeps telling me she needs time to think. My husband may never speak to Beth again, saying she is putting her own comfort above public safety. Do I approach the minister with secondhand information? Can I tell the parents of the kids on his street? The sheriff said that would be slander and I could be sued. What can I do? – Longtime Friend in Colorado

Dear Colorado: Beth is in a difficult position. Be sympathetic to her internal conflict while encouraging her to do the right thing, but please don’t apply so much pressure that she retreats altogether. Recommend that she contact RAINN (rainn.org) at (800) 656-HOPE (800-656-4673) for support and help. Meanwhile, make an appointment to speak to the minister, privately, and tell him about your dilemma. We hope it will help.

Dear Annie: My sister, “Joni,” and I used to be so close, but now I barely see her. She’s either out with friends or way too busy. We barely ever get time for just the two of us.

I’ve tried telling Joni how I feel, but she doesn’t listen. I’m glad Joni has a good time. I just wish she could include me. – Lost and Mixed Up

Dear Lost: Joni still loves you, but she is at a point where her friends and her social life are very important. This is a normal part of growing up. Talk to Joni again and tell her you miss her. Ask if she would set aside a certain time each week that will be “sisters” time. You also can involve your parents in setting a schedule. Then get involved in other activities so you won’t feel quite so neglected when Joni is preoccupied.

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