The following is a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, who finds herself in a dilemma:
Friends. I need some guidance.
If you are a regular visitor here, please advise.
If you are a lurker, please de-lurk and advise.
Anonymous comments are on. That doesn't mean anony can be mean.
We live in a rural area. We are surrounded by farms.
My boys, who are almost 16 and 13 were offered a job working on some acreage near us--moving irrigation pipe throughout the summer. The pay would work out to be significantly above minimum wage. It would not be every day, but just during the farmer's water turn. It would be 3 or 4 mornings (5:30-6:30 am) and then again in the evening (6:00-7:00 pm) several times throughout the watering months.
This all sounded great, until I found out who their foreman would be.
We have a Sex Offender in our area. We discovered this by searching the Sex Offenders' Web Site. We check out the site every time somebody new comes into the area or when the kids want to hang out at a new friend's house. If you are not scoping it out...you should.
As you have probably guessed, Chester is the foreman. I don't know what the situation is, all I know is that it happened in 1999 and his target is female minors.
When I stated my objection to offering up my boys to a secksual predator, I was met with eyerolling and some SERIOUS flack. "You have no idea what the situation was!" and "Jeez, give the guy a break!" and "MOM!! You're being ridiculous!" "Yeah, like we're gonna let him do anything to us!"
After a big discussion with the boys about never going anywhere with him and how predators work, etc. I agreed to let them go to work.
The other day, I got home from work and the boys told me they had their first day irrigating. I was kind of surprised that it had started already, but said (again with hesitation), "So, how was he?" (again with the eyerolling) "Okay," I said "As long as you don't ever get in a car with him." The boys looked at each other and said, "Too late." Mr. Chester has offered to come and pick us up and bring us home each time. (red flag) (this would mean about a 7 mile round trip for him twice a day).
I told them to call Mr. Chester and tell him I would be driving them. I drove them to the farm (2 miles straight down the road from us) and waited for them to finish. Hoss pulled up while I was waiting and wondered why I had brought them. "Chester offered to drive them." I blinked a few times and said, "Do you really think that is a good idea?" (eyerolling) "He's been re-baptized and repented and forgiven. It happened a long time ago. Give the guy a break.....haven't you ever done anything wrong before?"
"I have never diddled a child." was my answer.
He kept telling me that I was being ridiculous. I talked him through a few scenarios before saying, "Hoss. Let's just say that there is a good chance nothing would happen. But if something WERE to happen, could you forgive yourself?" He had to concede at that point.
Before going to bed last night, I asked Hoss if he would be willing to take them (I've been sick with the death of pneumonia and asthma and still continuing to work full time). "They can walk, or ride the bike." I reminded him we have one bike, two boys and it's freezing cold before dawn's crack. He didn't seem to mind. So, this morning at 5:15 am, I took the boys to their job, waited an hour for them to finish, and brought them home so they could be ready for school and I could get ready for work.
They all still think I'm being silly (except for Machine--he gets me, and has not given me an ounce of flack! Also, both of them were VERY grateful for a warm car to crawl into after braving the icy alfalfa this morning!).
I feel very strongly about it. As someone who was preyed upon by not just one predator-and survived to tell the tale.....I almost think I have a greater responsibility to protect my kids. I have FULL KNOWLEDGE of the risk and the fallout. I will continue to drive them (while it's cold-ish and dark) and will maybe let them ride the bike(s) when the weather gets better.
This is where you come in. Am I being ridiculous? What would you do?
Irradiate me with your wisdom.