DEAR ABBY: Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I hired a 16-year-old girl, "Susan," as a "mother's helper" for the summer. She watched our children while my husband, "Drew," and I worked. Once in a while Susan would spend the night. On one of those nights, Drew raped Susan and she became pregnant.
Charges were not filed, and Drew begged my forgiveness. Drew paid for Susan's medical expenses and she was sent away to a maternity home. The baby was adopted. We never knew whether the child was a boy or a girl.
We moved 800 miles away to get over the shame, and after a lot of hard work, we repaired our marriage. We never told our children about Susan and their father.
Last week, Drew received a special delivery letter from his birth daughter. She wants to meet him and ask him some questions. She has already met Susan, who did not tell her about the rape. Susan told her she was the result of a "relationship that didn't work out."
Abby, should Drew refuse to meet her? Should he tell her the truth? Should we tell our grown children? We need your help. -- PAIN REVISITED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PAIN REVISITED: Your husband was the beneficiary of outdated thinking from the "dark ages." Today he would be a registered sex offender with a prison record.
Drew should meet the girl he fathered. If asked, he should corroborate the story that her mother has told her. He should also answer any questions regarding medical history that could affect her and her children.
Unless you want your children to know this disgraceful chapter in their father's life, I see no reason to reveal the rest of the story to them.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Keith," is 14. He started acting different and told me he was hearing voices telling him they were going to kill him. I told his mom and she took him to a doctor. The doctor said Keith was psychotic and placed him in a locked psych ward.
My mom said I couldn't visit Keith in the hospital, but after a few weeks I snuck over there against her will. Keith was getting better and we were able to walk outside together and talk.
When Mom found out, she stopped talking to me because I refused to break up with him. She liked him a lot before he got sick.
I'd like your opinion on why Mom didn't want me to visit Keith in the psych ward. He was still the same person. Please answer soon. -- FRIGHTENED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
DEAR FRIGHTENED: I can only surmise what your mother may have been thinking. It could have been because she does not understand mental illness and was concerned for your safety. It's also possible she preferred that Keith be completely recovered before you contacted him. (People who are isolated in the hospital usually need peace and quiet to aid in their recovery.)
However, if ever Keith needed friends to rally around him, it's now. Apologize to your mother for disobeying her. She really should talk to Keith's mother about his treatment and prognosis before making any final decisions about your relationship with him.
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