Dear Amy: My youngest brother was arrested 19 years ago and jailed for eight weeks for molesting a 4-year-old child.

He was on probation for 10 years. This was horrible for the child's family and for my family.

We thought it was a one-time thing.

My brother went on with his life, got married and has a good job.

Very recently five family members (now adults), say he had molested them, too, when they were young.

Each has to decide if they are going to step forward and report it . . . now or ever.

His wife has no clue that all of this has transpired, but she has grandchildren.

Should any of us family members tell her for the sake of her grandchildren?

It's a Pandora's box, but it seems that something should be said.

My brother has no clue that his secret is out.

Blowing up the family will indeed happen if this gets out.


— Unsure

Unsure: My thoughts are that someone (your parents, perhaps) could have — and should have — done more to protect the first generation of children who were victimized by your brother, after his initial conviction.

In addition to his (very light) sentence, he should have received therapeutic help and he should not have had access to children.

But because this crime is so painful for your family to face, your brother didn’t get help, the news that he is a convicted child molester was swept under the carpet, and it seems that he went on to victimize more children, who now carry this burden with them.

Yes, his wife should be told, immediately.

The phrasing of your letter suggests that your brother has step-grandchildren. Their parents should also be notified of your brother’s conviction of child molestation and that it probably was not a “one-time thing.” He should not have any access to children without their parents present.

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been together for more than three years. After a year, we moved in together. I was buying a house, and he would sell his house and move in with me and my two teenagers.

Before buying the house, we reviewed our finances.

I was aghast at not only how in debt he was, but at the realization that it didn't seem to bother him. He has $60,000 in unsecured debt and has since had his wages garnished.

He hasn't fully paid his taxes from 2018, so far this year he STILL hasn't filed his taxes. I've tried talking to him, letting him know filing taxes is NOT optional.

Aside from his financial woes, he is the most caring and kind human I've ever met.

He may not be financially sound, but he is an amazing person.

I thought that I could help him learn to be financially responsible, however, any time I try to bring it up, he shuts down. I know he's embarrassed.

How can I help him want to become financially responsible?

Everyone asks when we are getting married.

I do NOT want to marry into that type of financial carelessness, but I don't want to "out" him to his friends/family either.

What would be the appropriate response when people ask when we are getting married?

— Worried

Worried: You two should meet with an experienced accountant, who would review your finances calmly and openly and help him arrive at a reasonable plan to prioritize his financial issues and start to deal with them.

A neutral party can often make headway where a partner cannot and can also help to negotiate settlements with creditors.

Your guy needs to understand that taking care of his finances is a caring and kind thing to do — it is an extension of his willingness to be a fully functioning partner.

No, do not marry into this mess. If people ask about marriage, you can simply say, “We haven’t decided.”

2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency