Thank you to everyone who contributed to yesterday's Read and Discuss. Many of you voiced the same concerns I had with the situation.
The key word in my story (for me) was "suddenly". The boy has lived here for 18 months, and while he has always been very nice to the kids, he always had his own thing going. He was always at school, at work, or with his friends. Two weeks ago, that all changed (tattoo, earring, kids - in that order).
The sudden interest in the kids and the purchasing of toys to engage the kids were warning flags for me. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, true, but it is my responsibility to keep on top of what is happening with my kids.
So, I did my research, spoke to my kids in general terms, I'm keeping an eye out, and remaining present while they play. I said in a good natured way to his mother "What's up, is your son grounded for getting that tattoo or something? He's been around so much with the kids this week!" (her response was "huh?")
So far, my husband and I and one other father are the only ones concerned. The general feeling around here is "Whoo, hooo! Free babysitting!" but I'm not so sure.
Do you know how to identify the sexual predators in your area? Megan's Law gives you the right to find that information. Click the link and enter your zip code, you might be surprised.
Thanks for your comments! I knew I was right to come to you about this :)