Sometimes we are confronted with seemingly insurmountable decisions ... ones we do not want to make, but we must act and move forward. In your case, you are facing a difficult choice. Your grandson, who is in your custody, has been charged as a juvenile offender in a rape case. A shocking fact is that your grandson is 15. Another outrageous fact is that the victim is his younger half-sister, who is not in your custody. Your dilemma is that you know where your grandson was at the time of the rape, and you know he was the only person with your granddaughter.
To further complicate the situation, your daughter, who is the mother of your grandson, has warned you that she does not want you to give the information you have about your grandson’s involvement. She has informed you that she wants to get to the point where the judge orders counseling for both your grandson and your granddaughter.
I do not know the laws in your state that address family testimony. Generally speaking, you may be able to refuse to testify because you are a close relative and you fear self-incrimination. I must ask, however, why would you fear incrimination? Yes, you are his legal guardian, but you are not his constant companion. Finally, since this case will be processed in criminal court, you may find yourself in contempt of court if you refuse to testify.
Consider the basic question: What is the truth? If the truth is that your grandson is the only person who could have perpetrated this assault against his sister, then the truth must be known, and it will be said from your mouth. The relationships with your daughter and with your grandson will have to take their own course over time. Yes, both of your grandchildren will benefit from counseling, and the court will see to that, but first must come the prosecution of the case. At 15, your grandson knows right from wrong. He knowingly committed a crime and must stand up to the punishment. When we tell the truth, we feel no guilt. And so it is for you.
My final question is: Why do you have custody of your grandson? There must have been a reason your daughter was unable to maintain custody. I assume you stepped in for a purpose. If you accepted custody when your grandson was young, I further assume you have done your best to rear him with solid values. Somewhere, somehow he cast aside those values. Let us hope he can retool himself and reclaim a productive life. By telling the truth, you will set an example for your grandson. You will demonstrate that the bricks lining the path to a successful future are all labeled with the name TRUTH.
My heart is with you in this difficult circumstance.
Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: The truth shall set you free.