DEAR ABBY: I am desperately worried about my brother's two children. Their mother remarried a man who abuses them.
This guy has torn the children's earlobes by yanking on them; threatened to kill their pets; says he'll beat the kids if they tell their dad, as they have in the past. Last time it happened, their dad confronted his ex-wife and this man, but they denied everything and told the kids after he left that they'd get "beaten senseless" if they ever told again.
My brother's ex-wife is not being abused by this man. The children tell me she laughs when he hurts them. She calls it "playing" -- or claims it's the kind of treatment the kids deserve.
These little children are in first and second grade, Abby. What can we do? Please send us some information. Do not use my name or city. -- VERY SAD AUNT
DEAR SAD AUNT: If ever I read a letter where intervention is needed -- yours it is. Call Childhelp USA immediately. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-422-4453. The people there will refer you to child protective services in the state where the children reside.