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Topic : 08/13 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace

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Created on : Friday, April 06, 2007, 11:30:39 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 04/09/07) Two-and-a-half years ago, Cat and Todd left their 6-year-old daughter, Grace, with Todd’s parents for the night. Little did they know, it would be the night that changed their family forever. Grace’s grandfather, Steve, molested her, and after Grace told her grandmother, Ann, about it, Ann failed to report it. After confronting Todd’s parents, Cat and Todd pressed charges. Steve served eight months in jail and is now a registered sex offender. Neither he nor Ann has seen Cat, Todd or their grandchildren in over two years, but they desperately want to put their family back together. Steve says he’s ready to do what he can to heal his family, but Todd and Cat are not convinced. What does Steve say is his reason for stealing Grace's innocence? Dr. Phil meets with the grandparents and gets to the truth of what really happened, while Todd and Cat watch from behind a two-way mirror. Will the unvarnished truth be too much for them to handle? Can this fractured family ever heal and move on? Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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April 7, 2007, 2:02 pm CDT

04/09 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace

Okay, so this guy said on the preview, " I put my hand between her legs, because it felt good to her " or something VERY close, and he still has the GALL to think this family should be brought back together ? HELLO, these guys DON'T change, they just become sneakier to make it harder to catch them next time.

These so-called human beings, should be locked up with the general population of the prisons, we wouldn't be supporting them long, and we would be guarenteed they will not be out in eight months to troll the neighborhood or playgrounds for other victims.

As for Grandma, what did she THINK would happen when this all came to light ? It's one thing to stand by your man, but quite another when you subject an innocent child to the degradation, and humiliation of sexual abuse, and please, no excuses about age, unless you've been under a rock you KNOW this is wrong, and the child NEEDS protection, from BOTH of you, would you let a stranger come to you and say, "she's pretty I want this kid ", and then take her ?  So why would you ALLOW your husband to steal away her innocence and her  sense of safety ?  NO, I would NOT allow my children anywhere NEAR anyone I didn't feel was safe for them, and I sure as HELL wouldn't allow the likes of these so-called grandparents to have ANYTHING to do with them.

I'm not sure HOW the father kept from wringing his scrawny neck after hearing what he said, trust me, I have told people, someone like that hell yeah, worth twenty five to life, and no regrets.

April 7, 2007, 2:03 pm CDT

protect that child

Like several who have already posted about this topic--and that without any of us seeing the show yet (I can only imagine the response once it airs!)--I am also an incest victim/survivor. Starting at age four, I was regularly molested by my father and then, the year I was eight and nine, I was violently raped two times each by two teenage stepcousins. I also had to endure a boatload of sexually inappropriate comments and some touching from these boys' father, who was married to my aunt. And, because our relationship was very poor, I was not able to tell my mother about any of this (though I can guess that she would have responded like this poor girl's grandmother because, when I told her as an adult, she completely backed my father and basically disowned me). So I had to remain in continual contact with all of these sick men. The results? As a teenager, I twice tried to commit suicide; I seriously contemplated running away and becoming a prostitute to support myself (since that's "all I was good for anyway"); the stress with my parents caused my brother and me to be estranged for eight years (though, thank God, we are reconciled now); I have major intimacy issues that affect my marriage every single day; and, worst of all, I have spent over 20 years now battling eating disorders. And I have had to spend most of my adult life in therapy just to stay alive and functional. I doubt I'll ever feel "normal." The best I can hope for is to do the best I can and work like mad to "break the chains" of this familial hell so my daughters will not be at all affected by it.

Why this laundry list of my issues? Because the parents of the girl on the show will be responsible for the multitude of similar problems their daughter will suffer if they allow her rapist, or even the child's unrepentent grandmother, to have any part in her life. I begged my father to leave me alone and he said many times he wouldn't touch me anymore--but he lied. The only thing that eventually stopped him was his fear, as I got older, that I'd become pregnant--hardly a child-focused motivation! This grandfather is a pedophile. It doesn't matter if his prison sentence is done; he should not be allowed any unsupervised contact with any child and none with the girl he violated. He made his choices and now he must suffer the consequences. Ditto for the grandmother. As to the writer who spoke of forgiveness, yes, by all means it is possible to forgive (despite my intensity here, I have forgiven my father--and I'm working on it in regards to my cousins). But forgiveness is completely different than putting someone in the position to be re-victimized. The girl can choose to forgive (and should be helped along that route by her parents and counselors--for HER good, since unforgiveness can cause deep bitterness that will hurt her later), but who cares if the grandparents ever "feel" forgiven, let alone have a place in her life again? They should have thought about that before they made the choices to abuse and not report. This child needs, above all, to feel safe with and heard and cherished by her parents, and one of the best ways they can do that is to refuse to give the abuser/co-abuser (the grandmother) any part in her life.
April 7, 2007, 2:07 pm CDT

Keep saving Grace

My Family went through this my kids and also my friends kid by the same man there uncle.  we deal with it everyday and now is one of the anniversary time one time happened durning the kids Easter egg hunt.  My son sare 23, 20 17 and 10.  See we're not sure what happened to the 10 year old he was still in daipers.  but,  We know what happened to the other kids.  We have had our court dates and the man that did these things to our kids is in prison where he belong but, his wife the kids aunt try to get him out still.  the kids and all grown ups effected are left to pick up the pieces everytime one of the kids have a bad day or remimbers something else in counciling that day.  It doesnt go away for us and its so hard on the kids lots of things tregger the hole mess'  take things slow and be sure of  every step you make in this because just when you think it was a good idea to get together or deciede these or that might  not  be good for the kids some days it will be like being right ther again for the child and now that child takes  three more steps back instead of forward there are no right choises any more Our molester is behind bars slill and we still worry everyday.  there  is ANGER , BLAME , SCARED, ANIOUS FEELINGS everyday still.   Thanks for listenig Rah!

April 7, 2007, 2:42 pm CDT

04/09 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace

Quote From: vtaggart

I was also molested as a child by my "daddy" and believe me it was not easy having to live in the same house with him all my life.  But, I still loved him in my heart.  I had a lot of mental illness from this and the Lord is the "only one" who saved me from living my life in a horrible way.

Now that is said, I believe they should visit with the grandparents, but never ever let the child and grandfather be alone.  Listen to  every word that is being said between the two.  Let the grandfather know up front that he will be watched and if he ever says or does anything toward this child that he will be punished again.  This child loves  him and it will take years before she comes to realize hate toward him.  Let her be a child.  Trust me, in time this child will heal and be able to live a normal productive life, if the family does not keep reminding the child that she was victimized.  Forgiveness can and does happen. 

If our society really cared for children, molesters would never get out of jail.  When you abuse one of God's children, there should be no second chance, it was a choice the abuser made.  But, since the grandfather is no longer in jail, then life must be as normal as possible for this little girl to heal.  She needs to know her parents will defend her and make her feel safe, even around the abuser. 

If the little girl wants to talk to her parents, they should be there for her and let her know she will be okay.  Not too much of this "your a victim" even though she is, always make her feel okay and not like "it is her fault."  How this situation is handled now while she is young is what she will carry with her for the rest of her life.  Do you want a child to believe she is a victim all her life or that something terrible happened, but by the Grace of God she doesn't have to carry this burden for life. 

If anyone grew up during the time when there was no help, we turned to God for comfort and He never failed us. 

I am sorry to hear about your father and you, and being forced to live in the same home as him was NOT protection for you, by your own admission you have suffered from mental illness due to this, a child should NEVER have to live with their abuser.

Yes he's out, way too soon in my humble opinion, but that does not mean the child should be made to have ANY realtionship with him, sexual abuse is the most degrading and humiliating types of abuse ANYONE can inflict on a child, especially since the child was NOT old enough to really understand what was happening, and she's probably still blaming herself for it.

She needs to know she is PROTECTED, agreed, but taking her around him will not make her feel protected, protecting her would be KEEPING her AWAY from her abuser, he made a choice, I agree with you there, and he should pay for it, what are his motives for wanting them to trust him again ?

Agreed again, her parents needn't harp on it, but they shouldn't act as though it never happened, keeping an open dialougue, and not getting angry or upset ( the hardest thing any parent could face ) if the child mentions it to them, and letting her know it wasn't HER fault can keep her from becoming a victim for life, many do rise above it and use it for healing, not an excuse for bad behavior they display as adults, you found religion, and I found a way past to work with teens that suffer from Mental and emotional challenges.

I belive as you do, we do learn to forgive, not necessarily forget, some things we NEVER forget, but we forgive to heal ourselves, many I have forgiven, but it dosen't mean there is any relationship, it simply means I will NOT allow them that power over me to keep me shaking in a corner instead of living my life.

There wasn't much help twenty years ago either, and my parents still took me around the man who did that to me, I hated them for it, I was the only kid around who DREADED summer vacation because I knew I would have to "Make Nice" to spare the feelings of the family, they did protect me enough that I was NEVER alone with him, but to have to face him time and again was torture, so I don't know how you did it having to see him everyday.

Seems we agree more than not, but I will agree to disagree that forcing or having a relationship with him is in the child's best interests, from the things he's said just on the previews, he's beyond sick, and I would wonder how many other victims are out there.

April 7, 2007, 2:44 pm CDT

Grandpa gave up his rights the first time he touched that baby

No way would I allow that pervert back into my baby's life.  The grandma is just as guilty if she know about it and didn't report it.  Why in the world does she want to stand by a man who did this to her grandbaby?  The man is a pervert and he should not be around this baby or any child again.  Best to distance themselves from this disfunctional family.
April 7, 2007, 2:53 pm CDT

To the parents of Grace

I am deeply concerned about you and your family.  This has to be a very horrible and heartbreaking thing to go through. 

I am a parent of two very young children and I was also molested. For five years beginning at the age of five by my maternal grandfather. 

No one knew until I told my mother the fifth and final year.  After hearing about the horrible things her dad had done to me, she was deeply, deeply pained.  I remember hearing her cry grieving sorts of cries, for nights after I had told her.  This was her father who had always protected her and who she had a closer connection to while she was growing up. 

If you have read other messages from very strong opinionated people regarding this subject, just know - that this is about YOU, YOUR CHILD AND YOUR WIFE. 

Make sure you get the help YOU need to be able to support your daughter throughout this crisis.  Considering that it was your father who had caused alot of pain towards your  daughter, your wife and to you, that must bring more heartache.

My mother to this day feels guilt for not noticing or 'not being there' for me and it hurts her.  But as time has past, the pain has dwindled.

Same with me.  I don't have horrible quick thoughts or images of past events with my grandfather as much or as intense as before. If I would have had counseling for the crisis I had gone through as a little girl then maybe I wouldn't feel like victim still. 


The most important thing I can share coming from my experience and the experience of my mom is:


Give yourself time and space to heal.

Model for your daughter the correct way of showing family affection.

Let her know she can go to her parents for safety and with worries or fears.

Importantly, let her replace and destroy any horrible memories of abuse with very positive and creative, fun-filled childhood moments.


Todd and Cat and especially your dear little Grace may the power beyond what is normal be yours to help you overcome this heartbreaking crisis with the necessary tools.


You are more than welcomed to contact me regarding this issue.



Elizabeth, CA

April 7, 2007, 3:31 pm CDT

saving Lisa

I truly believe that once a person molests a child, he will some day do it again.  I would never EVER allow anyone who had molested my child near her, EVER again.  I think once that child is an adult, then she/he can make the decision if shehe wants to see that person again.  As long as that child was in my care, I would never allow the molester any access to that child.  My own father molested my niece, (her grandfather)  and her life has been a living hell since she started having flashbacks of what he did to her when she was little.  My parents kept my two nieces a lot when they were little, and my father picked Lisa as HIS, and began molesting her at night when she slept with him.  I know my mother suspected it, but she never would believe it.  She was also very scared of my father, and would never stand up to him.  Lisa is very sick because of what he did to her, and I don't think she will ever get over it; she has tried to commit suicide three times, is on drugs, alcohol, etc.  A highly intelligent human being maybe ruined forever.  WHY??? do grandfathers do this so much?  
April 7, 2007, 3:45 pm CDT

Saving Grace

I'm hoping Dr. Phil tells the parents they should never have their daughter in the presence of the grandparents.    Even if he never touches Grace again she will think of what he's done every time she looks at her grandfather.  Why subject her to such horrible memories?  I agree the grandmother should have been prosecuted for keeping silent. 
April 7, 2007, 3:52 pm CDT


I have being a member for quite a while now, but never really felt qualified to put my opinion down in print.


This however is so close to my heart that I can not sit back and say nothing.

Please Dr. Phil never allow that man near this precious girl again.


My life was taken by my father at age 6 and there is never anything  he can do to ever correct or even help lessan the pain he has caused me now for 44 years.


I can not imagine what this pervert could Ever say that would help this child recover from what he did to her. She will deal with  this for the rest of her life. It hits when  you  least expect it and may take months at times to push that memory back to the background so you have some semblance of a normal functioning woman.


I have gone through to many therapists, psychiatrist  anyone I could find to help me deal  with the demons that still to this day rear their ugly heads when I let my inner guard down.


It makes no difference that this molester went to prison or not. He will never stop the  urge he has to molest little girls. This I  know since ever after I told my father continued on through the remaining 4 sisters below me..


Todd and Cat if you happen to read this! PLEASE do not ever let your daughter near this person again. You can not cure or hope that this person will ever not try again.

Please do not put your precious child in the same home with the man who we all know has scared her for life




April 7, 2007, 4:12 pm CDT

No, do not let him back in your lives.

When he molested your child he forfieted his privillege as her grandfather. IMO it would be harder on your daughter to try and have him in your lives. How are you going to explain to her that what he did was very wrong,then have him around. I thing it would confuse her and complicate the situation. Besides how could you ever trust him again? I can't see how it would enrich your lives in any way.I think it would be detrimental to your child's emotional health and well being. Please don't let him back in your lives.
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