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My cousin who is 17 years old was sexual harassed by her stepfather. He would stand over her while she sleeps and jerk off. She woke up to this several times. He even touched her in her private area when she was 15 or 16 years old. Her mother now knows, but chose her husband over her child.

My cousin is currently living with my family and me. She has nothing. Her mother has practically disowned her. Can she press some sort of charges on him? Her mother is obligated to financially support her, right?

How would we proceed?

Thank you



Your cousin certainly can and should press charges. The charges, however, would end up being against both her stepfather and the mother -- for the abuse and for allowing it to happen/endangering a child.

There is a national organization called Advocates for Children -- I'm not sure where you live, but they can help, as can Legal Aid and other organizations designed for just this purpose. Though there appears to have been no penetration, when it comes to minors, people take these charges very seriously.

I hope that you can get her the help she needs and at a minimum make it possible for her to stay away from the abuse.

Good luck,

-- Amy

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