DEAR ABBY: We're having a problem with my little sister, "Madison." She's 6 -- almost 7. Mom told me that Madison talked to her dad and told him that my grandfather touched her. Two weeks after Madison told him, he finally told my mom. Mom talked to Madison about it, but she denied saying it.
Mom asked me if I would talk to my little sister and see what her response was. When I asked her if Grandpa had touched her, she put her head down and quietly said, "No." She does that when she's lying.
I waited an hour or so and asked about it again. She still said no, so I asked if she would like me to talk to Grandpa for her. She said yes. Then I asked, "So he did touch you?" She quickly said no and changed the subject.
Mom and I don't want to cause trouble with my grandparents, and we don't have enough proof that he did touch her. Please help. We're in desperate need of it. -- PROTECTIVE SISTER IN WASHINGTON
DEAR PROTECTIVE SISTER: Sometimes people who molest little children lead them to believe that it was their fault, or tell them that if they tell their mother, the molester will harm the mother. It is time to involve a trained, nonthreatening professional in this discussion.
I recommend that your mother ask Madison's pediatrician for a referral to a child psychologist who specializes in abuse. Through discussion, art projects and "play" sessions, he or she can evaluate the situation and determine what did or did not happen.
In the meantime, Madison should not be alone with her grandfather unless she is closely supervised.