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by Abigail Van Buren

New Neighbors Should Be Warned About Dirty Old Dad

DEAR ABBY: Please help us to make a decision. Our 81-year-old father likes women -- females of any age.

In the past, he pursued a teen-age neighbor girl to the point that her family moved away. His adopted granddaughter calls him "a dirty old man" and won't come near him. As I understand it, he pursues, looks, touches, hugs, kisses, but doesn't rape.

My mother tries to save face. Our problem is that Dad and Mother have moved to another state, away from us. They are now living next door to a wonderful young couple who have a 3-year-old girl.

So far, Dad just watches the child when they visit and he only gives the young mother elaborate hugs and makes risque remarks. Mom admits that "she watches him like a hawk" when she baby-sits the little girl.

Abby, we are worried the day will come when he is alone with the child or the parents make the mistake of asking him to baby-sit. Do we warn the parents and ruin the neighborhood camaraderie? Talking to Dad won't help, as he seems to think he has no problem. What do you think? -- HIS FOUR CHILDREN IN TEXAS

DEAR HIS FOUR CHILDREN: If the four of you and your mother think your father has a problem, then he has one. The child's safety must come first.

Tell your mother that if she doesn't tell the neighbors about your father's background, you will. If your father tried to do something inappropriate to the child -- or any other -- it could cause enormous damage. You would have moral liability for his behavior, and, of course, your father could go to jail.