Murky circumstances of crime cloud convict's welcome home

DEAR ABBY: After I became an adult and left home, my father remarried a woman with a grown son. “Jack” has been incarcerated for the past several years. I have only vague information about what he did, but I do know it was related to drugs and gang affiliation.

His mother insists he was “framed” and refuses to talk about the charges. I haven’t been able to find any public information except that this wasn’t the first time he was arrested. My father has hinted that there is a bigger story there, but he keeps quiet out of respect for his wife’s feelings.

Jack will be released soon, and my stepmom is already planning big family events for us to welcome him home. I have a wife and kids now, and I’m not sure I want them around an ex-con. At the same time, I don’t really know what happened, and I don’t want to start a family rift. What should I do next? — WHAT’S THE SECRET?

DEAR WHAT’S: Talk to your father and tell him that unless you know the whole story about what Jack did that you will not be a part of the welcome home party. As a parent, you have a right to know whether your children could be in danger if they are around him and base your decision on it. Not that Jack might ever hurt your children, but should a rival gang member come after him, they might be collateral damage, as we so often read about these days. Better to err on the side of caution.

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Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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