Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Is Your Partner a Sexual Predator?

How can you know that they really love you?

The recent Penn State and Syracuse University sex predator scandals have brought the issue of the vulnerability of children in organizational and institutional settings. The latest scandal featured Bernie Fine, who served as a trusted assistant for decades for the perennial top ranked Syracuse University men's basketball team under  head coach Jim Boeheim. Yet Boeheim, a brilliant tactician, at first fiercely defended his associate and then backed off but claimed he was completely unaware of his trusted confidant's alleged predilection for the underaged. 
 
One of the authors personally experienced the situation of being under the authority Mr X,  a sexual predator in the educational system who was married with children, yet couldn't keep his hands off the male students. Most students submitted to the fondling and those who refused suffered retribution. Just as we saw in the Penn State and Syracuse situations, the administration did nothing for decades to stop it.
 
Once the initial shock of the allegations against Mr. Fine and Mr Sandusky wore off, the media spotlight turned to the spouses of the accused. Was Bernie Fine's  wife Laurie aware of the prowlings of her husband? Did Penn State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's wife Dottie have  an uneasy feeling about her husband spending so much of his precious free time with young boys in the couple's basement? Did Mr. X's wife or children ever suspect something wasn't quite right with dear old Dad?
 
How can a person take concrete steps to build a relationship with someone who is not likely to stray into predatory behavior? Sadly, this type of mirage man is very good at fooling those closest to him. Newsweek's Jessica Bennett and Jacob Bernstein report that researchers have found that pedophiles' wives are usually unaware of the secret dual life going on. 

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http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/04/complicit-wives-dottie-sandusky.html

A pattern of spending an inordinate amount of time with children  without the precautions of the group setting is a red flag of a possible dual life. Unexplained absences are  another warning sign, as well as numerous texts to strangers. The bottom line is transparency: Your potential partner should never be putting themselves in an isolated one-on-one situation with a child even if that is in the closet next to a full classroom of kids or an empty church office room. 
 
The best defense to linking up with a sex abuser is to take the time to actually get to know your potential partner before committing over a series of seasons. There actually was a good reason why our ancestors used to court with caution. Don't fall for the media-endorsed rush to find SOME  BODY. Determine after building solid relationships with his friends, colleagues and family if your potential mate is truly is a person of good character who takes the common sense steps on a daily basis to avoid impropriety.

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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