Here's the situation: last year it came to light that my elder brother had been molesting my youngest niece (who was 8 at the time that happened). Me and my father didn't find out until around October or so that this had happened, and that year he wasn't invited to any family functions (just as well, I thought).
He has schizophrenia and had been acting erratically around that time. He also hadn't been taking his medication. I don't feel that's an excuse, however.
My Mum has spoken to my niece about it, but saying 'Uncle Mark went a bit funny' to her, which I really don't feel was the 'right' thing to say. I'd speak to her myself, but she made it clear she's relieved that I 'don't know' about it, before.
Anyway, this Christmas, guess who's invited to dinner? I found this out 3 days beforehand, and when I hinted to mum we should have 'just a small Christmas' with just me, my parents and my grandmother, she got really upset (like, tears in her eyes) and then said 'Well I've already invited Mark and Dan'. So I didn't bring it up again.
Christmas day, I just didn't go downstairs while he was there. I couldn't believe she would ask me to sit at the same table as a man who molested a girl who's basically my little sister. How could I ever be expected to wish a 'Merry Christmas' to him? A merry trip to the morgue, perhaps...
Anyway, after they ate Christmas dinner, mum came upstairs to confront me about why I wasn't downstairs.
'Is it because Mark's here?'
'He's better now. He wasn't well. He hadn't been taking his medication.'
'He has a serious mental illness.'
'...Okay. You can do what you want. I'm not comfortable.'
I was definitely biting my tongue at that stage, because Mum looked like she would burst into tears at any moment if I said what I was really thinking. Frankly, I feel that even schizophrenia is not an excuse for doing what he did, and I think giving him such a perfect excuse to abuse again ('whoops, didn't take my medication') is asking for trouble. Mum used to say 'oh, (the mothers of his children) told so many lies to the courts so Mark couldn't see his kids, poor him!', and now I'm wondering what those 'lies' were, and if they were maybe true after all. It's not the first time he's done this kind of thing (and been caught), either.
Mum's even said at one point 'he's still family', but to me, he's not. He's just the guy who molested my baby niece. I don't want him anywhere near me, ever. She can visit him if she wants to. I don't want to.
Has anyone else ever been in or heard of a similar situation? I hear it's pretty common for families to try and do this. Do you think I did the right thing? There's no way in hell I would have been able to sit there and talk to him normally.