"Torn between My Mother and My Boyfriend"
October 14, 2013
Michele says she’s disgusted that her 26-year-old daughter, Malinda, is dating Jack, a registered sex offender — and she wants them to break up, for the sake of Malinda’s 4-year-old daughter. Malinda says she loves Jack and has no plans of leaving him. Is her daughter in danger? Dr. Phil weighs in — and offers the family advice for moving forward.
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A Family Divided
Michele says she refuses to meet her daughter, Malinda’s, boyfriend, Jack, and can’t even refer to him by name — because he’s a registered sex offender. Jack, now 26, was convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year-old relative when he was 15 years old. He admits to inappropriately touching the victim when he was 13 and she was 8. Jack says he hates being labeled as a sex offender and insists that he's now living the straight and narrow.
However, Michele maintains that she's not convinced that Jack is reformed at all. She says that she wants Malinda to break up with Jack, for the sake of Malinda's 4-year-old daughter. "It's true that I do refer to him as 'it,'" Michele says. "I honestly believe that the 'it' is pursuing my daughter to get to my granddaughter," she claims. Michele adds, "In my opinion, once a sex offender, always a sex offender."
Malinda claims that the real issue is not her boyfriend — it's her mother's need for control. "I don't feel that my boyfriend should be on the sex offender registry," she says. "He was just a kid ... I just don't get the vibe that he would ever harm anyone intentionally." Malinda says that her family has asked her to choose between them and Jack — and insists that for her it's "everybody or nobody." "I want my mother to know that I do love him, and he loves me. We're not breaking up," she says. "There's just no way."
Jack Speaks"I do not consider myself a registered sex offender," Jack maintains. "I want people to know me as a person — and not as a label." He says the inappropriate touching happened three or four times over the course of several months. "She never told me to stop. I never made her touch me," Jack claims. He explains that the victim later told a therapist about the abuse, which she alleged went on for several years. "She made a report saying that I touched her, and then a year later, another report was made saying that I had sex with her, which was not true," Jack claims.
Jack says that he spent almost seven months in jail and was told by his attorney that if he did not take a plea deal and register as a sex offender, he was going to go to prison. But, Jack insists, "I am not a sex offender. I did it at the age of 13, and I’m paying for it the rest of my life.”
Dr. Phil notes that sex abusers typically do not have just one victim. He says that 70 percent have between one and nine victims, and 20 percent have 10 to 40 victims. “The question becomes: Can these people be cured of this disorder?” he asks. “The answer is generally regarded to be no,” he says. “But they can be helped. They can be managed.” Dr. Phil lists several of the options available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, community notifications and registry, and restrictions on access to minors.
“I just want everybody to know that the mistakes I made are in my past," Jack insists. "I’m doing what I can do with what I have." He says he knows now that what he did was wrong, but maintains that he didn't realize that back when the abuse occurred.
“Did you do it in front of your parents, or your other siblings or your friends?” Dr. Phil asks.
Jack indicates that he did not.
"If you didn't know it was wrong, then why did you try to hide it?” Dr. Phil follows up.
"I wasn't trying to hide it," Jack responds.
"You didn't do this with your parents sitting there. You didn't do it with any adults around," Dr. Phil reiterates. "So you knew it was wrong," he says.
"This Family Needs Help"“You absolutely, unequivocally must realize that he is a higher risk individual than the general population,” Dr. Phil says to Malinda. He adds, “I don’t perceive that he is in any intense therapy at this point because if he was — and if it was quality — he would have been saying to me what I was saying to him. He is under-treated and under-managed in this situation for me."
Dr. Phil tells Malinda and Michele that they need to stop their tug-of-war and focus on what's in the best interest of the child involved. “If you are behaving in an immature and an impulsive way with your daughter, that needs to stop," he says to Malinda. "This family needs help. This family needs an intervention," he continues. Malinda, Michele and Dawn all agree. Dr. Phil offers to provide them with that help, and they accept.