If you know someone is married to a pedophile, do you tell them? If so, how do you tell them?
- EJ from Indianapolis
Exposing the truth (Part 1)
I assume that this is not a hypothetical question. I assume that you do actually know a person whose spouse is a pedophile. I also have to assume that you have your facts straight from an accurate, trustworthy source. The charge that someone is a pedophile is very serious and you would never want to accuse falsely. Also, rumor must be left out of this; never pass on a rumor of this nature about another person.
So, based on these assumptions, my answer is unequivocally YES, you must tell the person if you believe they do not know. Additionally, you must tell any other proper authorities such as police who might be able to prevent crime based on your information. In the event a child became a victim when your information might have spared them, you have liability - perhaps legally, but certainly morally.
How to do it (Part 2)
How do you tell the spouse? You simply tell them the facts (privately) as you know them, giving full information as you have it including your source. Tell it as an impartial story the way a newspaper would do it.
Starting off, you might say a few things in preparation such as: "I have something very difficult to tell you. Some important information has come to me of a very negative nature about your spouse. I feel obliged to tell you but it won't be easy or fun to listen to and I'm so sorry about that."
Don't take responsibility for the information; let your source do that. Here is what I mean. Suppose you found your friend's spouse's name at an Internet site which keeps a data base of pedophiles. You wouldn't say: "I don't know if you realize this but your spouse is a pedophile." No, instead, let the information from the Internet site speak for you.
For instance: "I was on the Internet the other day and found this disturbing information. It says that (name) is considered a pedophile with your address. Since this is so serious, I thought you should know that information is out there in cyberspace."
One more thing. Chances are that if this pedophile has a criminal past or if this was ever in the papers, your friend does know. There may be many reasons why it would appear they don't such as their own denial or dependence on the person (economic or emotional) or maybe a hope that the person has changed and deserves a second chance.
Be careful not to be judgmental but do be prudent. Your friend may need help admitting the truth or you may have to go farther in order to protect children. If any children are in the house, proper authorities need to be informed. You should tell your friend that you will be reporting it and then make sure you do. Don't forget God in the whole equation. Pray before you approach your friend and ask the Lord to prepare their heart to hear what you have to say. Be as loving as possible and then trust the results to God.