DEAR ABBY: Aunt fears nieces are in danger at home

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DEAR ABBY: I’m concerned for my sister and her three young daughters. She has been married to “Rick” for 10 years. After she recently discovered he has inappropriate feelings toward children, she kicked him out of their home.

Rick has gotten counseling and therapy and tells her it’s no longer an issue. CPS got involved, so he isn’t allowed to be alone with his daughters. My sister allowed him back in their home with the understanding he wouldn’t be alone with the girls. She now realizes he still has a problem, and she’s considering divorce to keep them safe.

I’m concerned because she is conflicted. She thinks he’ll get better after more intense therapy, but I’m afraid this is his way of not losing access to his girls. I think she should cut all ties to keep her daughters safe. What can I do to help my sister make the better choice for her and her daughters, who are under the age of 10? — WORRIED SISTER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR WORRIED SISTER: As long as your sister’s children are minors, their mother must protect them, and that includes ensuring they are not alone with their father. Their safety must be paramount. She doesn’t appear to realize how difficult pedophilia is to treat. That’s why it’s important for her to talk with a mental health professional and CPS. Her first allegiance must be to her vulnerable girls, who may need therapy themselves at this point.

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend, “Amy,” who I’ve known since third grade. We both came from difficult family situations, and because of those tough early years, we formed a close bond. We are more like sisters than friends. Over the past few years, Amy (who always struggled with weight) has put on more than 100 pounds. We live far apart and, although she mentioned “a weight gain,” it wasn’t until we video-chatted and she was modeling a new outfit that I realized she has become morbidly obese. When my mother went through menopause, like Amy, she gained significant weight. Like Amy, Mom avoided exercise and healthy food. My mother died of a massive heart attack at 57.

I’m scared I’m going to lose my friend. She’s pre-diabetic with a host of weight-related health problems. But weight is something that culturally we aren’t allowed to talk about, and it’s something she’s sensitive about because her parents constantly harped on her about her weight, even when she was only a few pounds overweight in her teens. Do I say something and hurt/offend my friend? Is it none of my business? I love her and I don’t want to lose her. What do I do? — TORN UP

DEAR TORN UP: I assume that because you and Amy have been friends since childhood, she knows what caused your mother’s early death. If you talk to her once about your concern, and explain that you are worried about losing her, I can’t see how it would “offend” her. Because she is pre-diabetic, I would hope that she is being monitored by her doctor.

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