I got married eleven years ago. My husband already had a daughter from his previous relationship… and together we now have three small children as well….

A month ago my stepdaughter confessed to me that when she first came to the country we live in, her father sexually abused her, so I confronted him. He claims that… since he had lived apart from her until she was fourteen, she said that she didn’t see him as her father.

When she told me about this, I asked my pastor to counsel with us, and my husband confessed what he had done, said he had repented, and turned his life over to our Lord Jesus Christ…. But I don’t trust him like I did before, not enough to leave my daughters in his care so I can go back to work. I quit my job because of this fear, and I don’t want to live like this…. He says that he would never do anything to hurt our daughters.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry for what you are going through. Your situation is extremely difficult, and we believe that only God knows what is best. But we can offer you a few suggestions.

From the details, it seems that your stepdaughter must be at least twenty-five years old by now. We can’t help but wonder why she kept her secret for so long, but decided to tell you now. We can only guess, but it is possible that she is concerned for her three small half brothers and sisters.

Your husband’s defense is that, when the abuse happened, his daughter didn’t yet think of him as her father. Possibly she already had the appearance of a fully-grown woman, so he seems to be trying to say that he was attracted to her as a woman, not as a child, and as a stranger, not as his daughter. In other words, he is willing to admit to having sexually violated a woman (before the age of consent), but not willing to see himself as a pedophile.

It is good news that your husband confessed his sin and decided to follow Christ. However, we all know from experience that pedophiles will say whatever they have to in order to have access to children, especially in the church. In reality, only God knows if your husband is a pedophile.

We believe that it is wise for you to be cautious and to withhold your trust. Your husband needs to accept that he will be on a type of probation for a very long time, and it is the direct consequence of what he did. It is also wise to refrain from accepting your husband as the daily caretaker of the children while you are at work.

As we said before, only God can give you the wisdom you need to discern whether or not your children are in any danger. Ask Him to help you take the necessary precautions so that you don’t have to live in fear.

We wish you well,