Is There a Predator in the House: Maryl

Is There a Predator in the House: Maryl
"Four years ago, my 13-year-old daughter told me that my husband, her stepfather, had sexually abused her when she was 7 or 8 years old," says Maryl. "I was in complete shock. I was sick to my stomach. I was ready to kill him. And I couldn't believe that he could do something like that."

Maryl confronted her husband and says he looked at her like she was crazy. "He professed his innocence, said he never did anything to her," she recounts. "There was an investigation. He took a lie detector test and passed. The police concluded that the allegation was unsubstantiated."

"I was very confused. I thought that Micaela was lying. My daughter has a history of being a compulsive liar. Micaela would lie about schoolwork, whether or not she had done her chores, whether or not she was watching TV, just simple, stupid things that she wouldn't even get in trouble for."

Three months ago, during a meeting with Micaela's social worker, the girl repeated her allegation that she had been molested by her stepfather at least seven or eight times. "I completely freaked out," says Maryl. "I didn't know whom to believe. I used to believe my husband. I asked the investigator would it be possible that Micaela could be lying. The investigator told me that it was not possible, that my child had definitely been sexually abused."

To this day, Maryl's husband still professes his innocence. "It's really hard when you're torn between two people. I did betray my daughter. I have so much guilt," says the conflicted mom.

Micaela was taken away from Maryl and put into a treatment foster home, where she is today. "Gut instinct, women's intuition, whatever you want to call it, always believe it," says Maryl regretfully. "I didn't go with my gut instinct. I've let me daughter down. I'm willing to do anything to make up for it. I just want to make her better. I just want her to be OK and to be safe."
Maryl's husband still denies the allegation, but declined to be on the show.

"What do you believe as you sit here today?" Dr. Phil asks Maryl.

"It was hard for me to get help from anyone," she says. "Nobody would give me the information that I needed to help make a correct decision, I believe. So I began reading books on sexual abuse to try and find more information, and her behaviors, her acting out, her rage, all were signs of sexual abuse, and I had to believe it. I had to believe it. There's no other way that she would behave that way unless something had happened to her."

"Do you believe the investigator who says she shows all the signs of having been sexually molested?" asks Dr. Phil.

"At this time, I do," she replies.

"Let me tell you, there are clear signs," says Dr. Phil, "and a trained interviewer is going to be very sensitive to those things, and it's usually pretty clear whether somebody's been raped, whether they've been molested. There are things that we look for in those interviews that aren't common-sense, and they're either there or they're not. I'm not going to talk about what those are now because I don't want to empower people with the information to make a false allegation sound real. But up until three days ago you still believed your husband. You now have big question marks, correct?"

"I have a lot more doubt," she says.

Maryl is still living with her husband, and she left him a note to let him know she would be appearing on the show. He called her when she was at the airport.

"How does he feel about your being here?" asks Dr. Phil.

"He says you do what you've got to do," Maryl says.
Over the past few days, Maryl has come to believe her daughter was molested, but Dr. Phil asks if she thinks her husband is the one who did it.

"Yes," she says. "She says that it was him. Could it have been someone else as well? I don't know. Now I have all these questions that are raised."

"First off," says Dr. Phil, "you went through a litany of things that [indicated she was] a pathological liar, and you gave examples of stealing Cheetos in second grade and lying about it, saying she didn't have homework when she in fact did have homework, not using some of your makeup when she clearly had, and having friends over when she said she wouldn't.

"Except for the makeup, I must be a pathological liar," Dr. Phil quips. "Pathological lying, a part of an impulse control disorder associated with sociopathic personalities, is a very distinct thing. I see absolutely no evidence whatsoever that your daughter is a pathological liar.

"What you're talking about here, stealing Cheetos in the second grade and saying she didn't have homework when she did, and sneaking friends in and out of the house when she wasn't supposed to, that's not indicative of pathological lying. Now, does she lie? Of course she does. Does she tell you what you want to hear when you want to hear it? Of course she does. Does she try to escape accountability at different times? It appears so. But when you decide that she is a compulsive or pathological liar, then that means you have said, ‘I can't believe anything that she says.' That is a misdiagnosis on your part, in my opinion."


"Now, you're going to have to make a decision about what you're going to do," Dr. Phil continues, "but I think what you do need to do is you do need to try and arrange a meeting with your daughter, and you need to make eye contact with her, with counselors present " foster parents, Child Protective Services, whoever it is " and you need to sit down and let her know, 'You came to me, and I didn't believe you when it counted, and I'm sorry. And I do believe you.' Now, that doesn't mean that she hasn't told you lies. It doesn't mean she won't tell you some more. But this is a time in this young woman's life, this young girl's life, that she needs to know that her mother, her protector, has not turned her back on her. And you need to sit down and look her square in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry, and I was wrong. We've got problems, but this isn't going to be one of them.' Will you do that?"

"Absolutely," says Maryl.

"And you've got to make some serious decisions about what you're going to do with this man you're living with," says Dr. Phil. "I've got to tell you, I'd have a hard time crawling in bed with him, pulling the covers up around my neck if I thought that's what was going on."

"Oh, no," says Maryl, "We don't sleep together."

"Now, I want to be clear," says Dr. Phil, "we have asked him to be here. He declined. We asked for his side of the story. He denied it. He said it did not happen. I can't tell you he did or he didn't. All I can tell you is we asked him to come." Turning to Maryl he adds, "You know what you need to do."

"Yes," she says.