When Another Au Pair is Dating a Drug Dealer

by cv harquail on November 4, 2015

It’s a classic case with a new wrinkle —

What’s classic:  

Your Au Pair’s friend, who is also an Au Pair, is doing something unsafe.

au pair dating, au pair problems

Your Au Pair told you about it, because she’s worried. And she should be worried, since the Au Pair’s friend is putting herself and her group of Au Pairs in a potentially compromising position.  But…. what should you do?

How can you help in a positive way, without giving away the confidence of your own Au Pair?

The new wrinkle:  

It’s not an escort service, driving drunk, or dating a married guy  — it’s dating a drug dealer.

What do you advise?

Dear Au Pair Mom,

We are a new host family to a great au pair. She is very open with us (and vice versa), and frequently tells us what’s going on with her au pair friends and their host families.

Last week she told me that one of her friends (a fellow au pair) met a guy online, who lives out of state, and happens to be a drug dealer. Our au pair shared that she does not think this is a good idea, but didn’t say much else. A few days later, she shared that the guy will be coming to visit in late November and the au pair is planning on having him stay with her and her host family. I asked if the host parents were aware of his profession and if they were aware that he would staying with them (the au pair has her own suite so lots of privacy). The answer was no to both questions.

I feel obligated to report this to someone — the other host mom or my community counselor. However, I am worried what this will do to my au pair’s relationship with other au pairs, as well as our open communication.    

If I were the other au pair’s host mom, I would certainly want to know if my au pair were dating a drug dealer, and that this drug dealer may staying at my house. Finally, I don’t want my au pair to be exposed to any danger by being friends with this other au pair . I am concerned about this friendship that my au pair has with the other au pair, as the other au pair is not exhibiting very good judgment. And while I believe our au pair knows this, the au pair dating a drug dealer is part of our au pair’s group of friends, and I’m betting that our au pair doesn’t want to lose the group of friends.

What to do?

Talk to the local Counselor?  Talk to the other Au Pair? Call the other Au Pair’s Host Parent?

Image: Silly Rabbit on flickr


German Au-Pair November 4, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Mhm. In general I think when it comes to legal matters (like if the other HP could face charges for having him stay at the house?) that’s more important than relationships.
First of all, don’t be worried about the AP -she’s a grown woman who is making a choice. Not your business. Don’t worry about your AP. She’s already worried and is therefore probably smart enough to distance herself enough not be put in danger.
And then I also think that “drug dealer” is a veeeeery wide term. While initially you kinda think about big, brute guys and maybe a bit of Breaking Bad drama, I just rememered that I also had friends who dated drug dealers and hung out with drug dealers in high school (aged 16…) and those guys may have been kinda shady and not my cup of tea, but they certainly weren’t DANGEROUS. You only knew when they know but you couldn’t tell just by loooking at them. And they weren’t big in business, doing super criminal things, they basically brought a bit of weed to school -but technically they were drug dealers.
I’m not saying it’s great or right, but I’m not sure that the issue is really as big as it initially sounds. (Would a big time, dangerous drug dealer really tell his online girlfriend??) The term drug dealer can apply to a dangerous brute as much as to a nerd with a bit of weed. (Also, do we know if he might actually live in a state where weed is legal?) The latter might also not turn me off a guy even though I want nothing to do with drugs.
I don’t think this is worth ruining your relationship with your AP over.

NoVA Twin Mom November 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

Just a note about the “could weed be legal in his state” comment – my understanding is that even in the states where recreational marijuana is legal to possess, it is not legal to sell/buy it except through very specific channels. Same with medical marijuana when legal. If this guy is living in one of those states, he’d probably say he works at a dispensary rather than calling himself a drug dealer.

FirstTimeHM November 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

I’m not sure, but could it be a language misunderstanding? Could he have said that he worked at a drugstore?

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Now THAT would be an amazing twist!

FirstTimeHM November 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm

It fits the bill, I can imagine someone telling a girl online that he works in a drugstore, girl asking if he really sells drugs for a living, of course he does.
I never rule out language misunderstanding, au pairs are usually quite fluent in English but there’s so much idiom they don’t have yet.

It would certainly be an amazing twist, and a twist I hope for, a real drugs dealer would be horrible.

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Even so, I still don’t think illegal drug selling equals illegal drug selling…while I wouldn’t do either, I would still make a huge difference between someone who sells a bit of pot and a big time criminal. It seems a bit exaggerated to me to inform a HF, break relationships with the APs and the HP-AP if there’s a guy who sells some pot at home staying for a vacation. I also don’t see how either of the APs would be endangered by such a situation. So if I wasn’t sure, there was a dangerous criminal, I would definitely make sure before I open that box…

Mimi November 7, 2015 at 2:27 pm

The laws in the US don’t make a distinction between possession for self use and selling. If you have a certain amount of drugs, you will also be charged with intent to sell, regardless of intention.

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

But that’s all assuming he’s BRINGING drugs…why would he? There are so many possible scenarios here…I don’t see a big time drug dealer telling a person he has never met in person about his business. So it could very well be a guy who has sold some pot at home, to some of his friends or whatever. That doesn’t mean he’s going to bring it.
I agree one hundred percent that if drugs are going to be brought into a HF’s home, the HF should know about it…but it doesn’t say that that’s what’s happening. And if there are no drugs in the HF’s home, I don’t think what the guy does at home, in another state will be the HF’s concer, will it?

Mimi November 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Why wouldn’t he? Look at the situation from his perspective. You meet a chick online and arrange to visit overnight. What does that mean to him? I’m sure he has a recreational agenda and will come prepared for any considered possibilities including recreational drug use.

hOstCDmom November 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm

In addition to the drugs in the house scenario, one needs to also think about the HF vehicle– AP driving HF vehicle, driving boyfriend who has drugs on him. Maybe he puts the drugs in the glove box, maybe in his pocket or backpack. In any case, if AP gets pulled over and cop “smells pot” (and yes, I put this in quotes, bc I do think that while many times this is a legitimate cause on the part of the police to search the car, and they really DO smell pot, I also think that some officer/some police forces in some towns/areas of the US will “smell pot” anytime they pull over young people…our town is case in point. It seems every young person pulled over the officers smell pot and bring out the drug dog for a car search.) A search of the car may ensue, and the boyfriend may deny the drugs are his, the cop may decide the drugs belong to both, or to AP. And depending where you live, there may well be case law imputing any drugs in the car to possession by the driver. And then maybe the AP is arrested along with boyfriend.

No HF wants their AP arrested for drug charges — very stressful all round. And probably pretty expensive.

I discuss this exact scenario with all my APs, to make them aware that what their friends do and/or have on them, if such friends are passengers in AP’s (=my) car, that may have serious consequences for the AP…and me.

Meg November 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Lol yes. I live in Colorado. With respect to pot, we explained the law told her we trust her to make her own choices as long as she doesn’t bring it in our home or drive or care for our kids under the influence. But we told her that we think flights comings out of Colorado may be carefully watched. Just as an FYI.

DC Metro Mom November 8, 2015 at 8:09 am

hOstCDmom–100% yes!!

In multiple states, it is statutory that if a person is caught in possession of an illegal substance, it is the legal presumption that that person is the owner of it, and the state’s burden has been met and the burden then shifts to the defendant to disprove that it was them, and that the illegal substance was from someone else. Legally, it is incredibly challenging to prove a negative because, amazingly, many people participating in illegal activity deny it to law enforcement.

And don’t even get me started on the potential complications of a shared car between AP/HF with that regard.

wco hd November 4, 2015 at 5:19 pm

I don’t think worrying about AP’s group of friends should really be the first concern here. The other host family will be unknowingly hosting a drug dealer… in their home! I would speak up… and loudly. I don’t care whose toes got stepped in a case like this. Safety for the other host family, that AP with very poor judgement, my own AP, and the whole group of AP’s that are friends with this girl would come first. I would speak to the LCC and the other host family. Hopefully your own AP (and the others in the group) have enough sense to realize that this is a very serious situation and something needs to be done. If my AP brought a known criminal into our home it would absolutely be grounds for immediate rematch.

Mimi November 4, 2015 at 6:09 pm

There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea and I agree that the AP’s judgment is questionable. In some states, drugs in a household can get more than the individual drug possessor arrested so this could potentially be jeopardizing the HF. Also, if the guy leaves drugs behind, there is a danger of small children ingesting them. If he’s a known trafficker, transporting drugs across state lines is a federal crime. If something happens and the AP/AP HP had knowledge that wasn’t shared, you can bet someone will get sued.

If you don’t know the HF personally, I would encourage the AP to go to your LCC to talk about what’s happening here and let her follow up. If the LCC isn’t someone you can count on (or if there isn’t one) I’d sit down with the HF and my AP myself. Were the situation reversed, I would want to know and even with my (fairly) relaxed views about guests and visitors, I’d probably rematch over this.

Boy Au Pair Spain November 4, 2015 at 6:55 pm

This is difficult. I personally don’t feel that a drug dealer poses an inherent danger to children. I’d go so far as to say that if I had my own children I wouldn’t have a problem with them having momentary contact with such a person. However, it is likely that the parents would have a problem with it and would want to know. I think this is the crucial element and I reckon I’d disclose to the parents because of this. First though I’d talk to the au pair and ask her about the guy. You could give her the option to not invite the guy to the family’s house. If the au pair decides this then I don’t think there is a justification in disclosure (although I suppose you have to worry about whether she will just invite him anyway without you knowing!).

It is unfortunate that your relationship with your au pair and her relationship with her friends might suffer. Your au pair has put your in a difficult position and she has somewhat breached her friends confidence too in telling you. I think if you go about it in a mothering way, of kindly advice and concern, then maybe it can be salvaged.

Meg November 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

I think that the extent of danger involved here may be very different depending on many factors including the country. In this case, for all we know the person works at a local pharmacy. But, I just want to put it put there that in the US drug dealer, and their enemies and rivals are probably more likely to have guns. I may be biased because 1 a friend of mine’s boyfriend was killed in a drug deal and he wasn’t even a series user and 2 I have a lot of friends and family in law enforcement who universally agree it’s a very dangerous business. And they say it’s somewhat dangerous to even be casually around it in many cases. (Granted a lot of factors make it more or less dangerous. ) My main point is that having life experience that tells you drug dealers aren’t all that dangerous is valid but I’m not sure it can be equally applied across different contexts.

Seattle Mom November 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

The whole story is fishy to me. Most drug dealers I know (hahaha don’t ask) don’t generally divulge that kind of information to someone they are casually dating from out of state who they met online. How does the au pair who is dating him *know* he is a drug dealer- did he really say that? Or did he offer to hook her up with some drugs? It seems to me that if she knows for certain that he sells drugs for a living then probably there are bigger issues at hand that are much closer to home for her host family…

Or maybe she was just guessing that he’s a drug dealer because he has a lot of money and it’s unclear how it got it… or because he always seems to have a lot of drugs lying around (again, these red flags raise MUCH bigger issues than the fact that she’s dating a drug dealer).

It all seems very murky to me. I would need to get more information from my AP before doing anything. Yes, if I knew for sure that my AP’s friend were dating a drug dealer and he was planning to spend the night with the HF, I probably would say something to someone, but exactly what/when/how depends on some details that we don’t have.

Seattle Mom November 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Also I don’t actually know anyone who would say that their profession is drug dealer. They might sell drugs for fun or profit but they usually see themselves as something else, and they happen to have some illegal extracurricular activities that they don’t really want to talk about… unless you are interested in being a customer. See where I’m going with this? I think the concerns are either bogus or misplaced.

dorsi November 4, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Yes. Exactly. I come in professional contact with a lot of drug use, but I have yet to meet a “drug dealer”.

AuPair Paris November 5, 2015 at 10:35 am

This is all true, but I still know which guys in the local bar are drug dealers… Because someone always knows someone who will tell you that he’s the guy to go to if you ever “need” anything. I would suggest if the girlfriend knows he’s a dealer, probably she’s a user – but possibly not in very high quantities or in a serious/scary way?

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Nope. I have never even looked at a drug and I knew who dealt on my local high school yard (very sheltered community actually :D ). I had a friend who used recrationally but it wasn’t part of our friendship so I knew everything about it without having anything to do with it (and I also wasn’t the only one of the good girls who knew…it was more like common knowledge). This girl had also dated one of the guys who dealt on the side but I just don’t see how being friends with someone who uses drugs is bad judgement…I have never been put in a situation where I felt uncomfortable and I think it is very possible to A. take drugs and turn out decent later and B. take drugs on occasion but not behave like a criminal junkie all day long. I get why this would worry a HM, thinking of a worst case scenario with the kids and the trust you have to have in an AP, but I feel like this discussion is a bit black and white…

Also regarding the term…I’m sure someone wouldn’t introduce themselves as a drug dealer, but I rather think that maybe she knows he is dealing/has dealt with drugs and then just went on to call him “drug dealer”. The drug dealers I knew of, certainly went to have every day jobs and didn’t deal in the sense of dark alleys in big cities but just a little on the side. This may be blown out of proportion big time.

Schnitzelpizza November 19, 2015 at 9:51 am

Just wanted to second German Au-Pair.

I have never touched drugs (other than alcohol, chocolate, and prescription drugs) but know where I could get weed if I wanted to. And it would be a person that I would consider absolutely trustworthy. And that nobody would mind their children being around (who actually has adult children… and grand-children). However, he would definitely not consider himself a “drug dealer”! If you asked him what he did for a living he’d give his official job title. He doesn’t even really deal by the side, he’s a recreational user but I know if I asked he’d let me buy from him.
I would also know whom to contact for hard drugs. Again, a person nobody would consider in any way or form unsafe. He doesn’t use but knows the “right” people. Heck, I’d know where to go to get anything I wanted if I felt like it… just that I wouldn’t trust people selling on the streets. Not even for weed.

How do you meet people online who are (and tell you they are) drug dealers? Couldn’t you just as well be the police, pretending to be a 20 year old foreigner? Not that I doubt people would be that stupid, but…

Taking a Computer Lunch November 4, 2015 at 10:12 pm

This reminds me of the television show Hee Haw (let’s just say I did a lot of Saturday night babysitting in rural America in the 1970s and leave it at that). They had a weekly section of the program that started out with women gossiping and singing “We don’t go around spreading rumors,” and ended with “so you better listen right the first time.”

In my 14 1/2 years of hosting APs, I have learned a lot of things:

1) APs don’t learn common sense in a year (so if your AP is sowing her wild oats, she probably won’t get out of her system while she lives with you – the questions are – does she do her job well, and does her risky behavior actually directly impact your family? – if the answers are “yes” and then “no,” then look away).

2) If your AP brings up this “story,” then it might not actually be true. She might be testing the waters. What are your feelings? The correct response to this is, “Drug dealing is a felony, and if you friend gets caught associating with this person, then she won’t be sent home – she’ll spend time in American jail.” (Just because the “friend” might be your AP testing your feelings – in this case, stick to the law. That’s all she needs to know.)

3) Another response to the hypothetical boyfriend staying in the home is, “Oh, does her HF allow weekend guests? We don’t, and if we discovered you had a boyfriend staying while we were away, it would be grounds for rematch.” Or “Oh, does her HF allow weekend guests? As you are aware, we do, but you must tell us in advance who is staying. We like to know who is in our house overnight!”

That being said, I have had several APs who have had questionable friends (back to the common sense theme). One actually had a friend who was addicted to drugs and got caught driving under the influence. It was hard all around – because part of the plea bargain was a direct flight home.

My advice, ignore the truth vs fiction, and measure your response with the law. If you think there is a measure of truth, then contact the LCC and let her figure out the details. If the ‘friend’ tells your AP, then chances are she has told several people. A good LCC will protect you and your AP from implication.

Rural Host mom November 5, 2015 at 8:50 am

We’re still on our first, but I agree that any stories that come home about other AP’s are fishing for insight on where you stand with your house and your AP. We looked the other way when ours dyed her hair green – a story I’m sure went to other homes – but we never have her work extra hours for extra pay, and while we’re generous with taking her on nice vacations, she does have to pay for personal phone and gas – and I’ve heard all about the generosity of other families.

WarmStateMomma November 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

This is why I’m so glad you’re going to be hosting for another year! Your advice just “feels right” to me.

momo4 November 6, 2015 at 12:23 pm

What a great thoughtful response. I completely agree!

DC Metro Mom November 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

See, I love your advice. Not related to this issue in any way, please stay even after you stop hosting.

Or start a radio call-in program on Sirius!!

NBHostMom November 5, 2015 at 9:01 am

Along the line of what the others have said, there’s something here that feels ‘high school gossipy’ to me. What type of drug dealer with any type of sense says “I’m a drug dealer”?

If it were me, I’d sit down my ap and explain what she told me about her friend is still on my mind. I’d be looking for the following: How does she know he’s a drug dealer? What’s her definition of a drug dealer? When is he coming? Why is she risking sneaking him in her suite?

The fact that she’s sneaking in a guy she met online from another state actually bugs me more than the “drug dealer” part. The sneaking him in action is a direct reflection of the au pair lying and breaking rules. “Drug dealer” sounds like immature attempt to impress an equally immature individual.

I would explain to my AP that this is a very difficult situation for me and I must break her confidence and talk to the other host family. If possible, I’d reach out directly with the following info (Alternate would be lcc):
“There is a rumor that your AP is planning on sneaking someone she met online from another state into her suite for a weekend. I’ve also heard some questionable background information that he may be involved with drugs. If possible, please don’t share with your AP where this information came from as I’d like to avoid putting my AP on a difficult situation”

HRHM November 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm

“sneaking” may be an assumption. You don’t know what the other HF’s rules are. It sounds like the AP has a separate living area (guest house, nanny suite, carriage house) with it’s own entrance, and her HF may have NO rules about who can stay and when. I’ve seen a lot of variation in what HFs tolerate in that arena. So if they don’t ask and don’t care, then her not making them aware in advance isn’t “sneaking” it’s par for the course…

Meg November 5, 2015 at 9:13 am

I may be misrepresentation some of the comments here but it’s coming across to me that the community would almost be more upset about an Au Pair leaving early and with no good reason and little notice vs something like this. I’m I totally misunderstanding? Because for me it couldn’t be more opposite. I’d barely be annoyed if my Au Pair wanted to leave but if she snuck a man into my home, especially a shady person I can’t even imagine how angry and sad and betrayed I would feel.

Meg November 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

Sorry for the typos. Phone.

WarmStateMomma November 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Meg – I think there’s just a lot of vagueness about what this situation is. My mom would refer to a college student who occasionally smoked weed and could hook up his friends as a drug dealer, but that’s a world apart from being El Chapo. I’d be livid over drugs being brought into my home. I don’t personally think pot use is all that harmful, but the possible legal, financial and professional problems for the HF could be disastrous and unforgiveable.

It does sound weird that the guy told his internet girlfriend that he sells drugs. Was that really in the occupation field on his online profile? “Experienced drug dealer, specializing in wholesale meth and crack transactions.” It’s just so weird that I’d wonder if there wasn’t a miscommunication. If it really sounded like the guy might bring drugs to the HF’s home, I’d tell the LCC or HPs.

I do tell my APs that American prisons are violent places to be avoided at all costs. I’d be shocked if any of them actually did something criminal, but I let them know DUIs can result in prison time so they understand how risky it is. The OP should make clear to her AP the risk of going to prison for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For a simple unapproved male guest in the separate AP apartment, I likely wouldn’t say anything unless the HPs were friends of mine.

Meg November 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Yes. I think for me, the hot button here is the sneaking of a person into the home. We have no curfew etc. But I have a really hard line on no men around my kids. It’s a trust issue for me. If an Au Pair snuck a man into my home because she knew that I would have an issue I’d worry that when we go off to work men come over. But I agree that this whole situation is unclear. Hats off to all of you who have been HM over and over.

WarmStateMomma November 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Agreed – I’d feel the same way as you. I’d rematch if it were my AP sneaking strange men into the house, but I wouldn’t intervene if the boyfriend is staying in the garage apartment of someone else’s place while the HPs are home.

My 3 APs have shown little to no interest in dating during their AP time, so this really isn’t an issue with all APs. Just like us HPs, they have wildly different personalities and interests. The funny thing is that my family is way more liberal about dating, drinking, etc. than our APs have been. It’s nice, though, not to have our boundaries tested.

cv harquail November 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

Careful not to read to much into the use of the term “drug dealer”. That’s how the mom described it in her email to me, not necessarily how the Au Pair described it to the host mom, or the girlfriend to the Au Pair, or the boyfriend to the girlfriend.

The larger issue is– dude is selling drugs to other people. Want him around, or no?

NoVA Twin Mom November 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

No drugs illegal at the federal level in my house. Even though certain states have made certain amounts of marijuana legal, I would have major problems with my employer if they found about about drug activity in my house. (BTW, my state is not one of those that has legalized marijuana in any amount, so this is a bit easier). I would have to consider calling the police on my own au pair and certainly get her out of my house (potentially by paying the LCC to house her – I wouldn’t actually put her on the street) if I found drugs in my house in order not to lose my job. And I’d have a major problem finding a new job if I were fired and the reason for my departure got out.

And if this guy actually deals drugs and did so at my house, I’d have an even bigger problem than if “just” possession were discovered in my house.

Luckily, my au pairs are told where I work upfront, and when the issue comes up I tell them this. So there’s no grey areas. But anyone with a security clearance – so many of the host families around DC – would have similar problems.

I agree with others, this may be the au pair fishing for information for her own use, so be sure to say what would happen if your au pair were doing this. But although I’m quite laid back about many things, illegal drugs can’t be one of them.

AuPair Paris November 5, 2015 at 10:43 am

Agree with the people expressing doubt to a certain extent. Assuming the HM is experienced enough with immature individuals to figure out what the AP wants out of this discussion (testing waters, spreading gossip, or genuine concern), there are different reactions. When it comes to the first two, I’d ignore it, and like others have said, reaffirm that you don’t approve of that. The last one… Well there’s always the LCC. In my situation, with no agency, I’d expect a host parent to put the responsibility back on the AP, I think. Genre: “that’s a difficult situation. What are you/is she going to do if…”. “Wow, do you think you’ll talk to her about this?”. “Hmm, that sounds like a bad idea because… Do you think you should say something..?”, “Does it strike you that she’s in danger?” etc…

Sure, you can get in touch with the other HPs. I mean, taken at face value, I don’t think anyone would BLAME you for that response… But that could be seen as gossiping too – and I’d want to be sure that the allegations were true. Not doubting the AP has said it to the HM, but where has she got this from. Like others are asking, did her friend confide in her? Or is it more like a group of friends, perhaps all with different native languages, going “x’s new boyfriend is so dodge! He’s like, some kind of druggie or something..! Look at his clothes! And he’s like… 35…” (Which could be as little as some mid-twenties guy who wears ripped jeans…)

ILHostMom November 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm

HM says they have good communication so I think its worth trying to clarify with the AP what the actual situation is. Our previous Au Pair spent the night at another Au Pair’s house one weekend when the HF was away. The Au Pair invited her boyfriend over, who in turn invited some friends over. While everyone was sleeping, one of the boyfriends friends wiped the family out, stealing cash, cameras, checkbooks, etc. So I think its better to be safe than sorry. Even if this guy is not a drug dealer, its doubtful that the host family would be OK with their Au Pair inviting someone over that she doesn’t really know and only met on the internet.

HRHM November 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Let me just say, as a HM in Colorado, that “drug dealer” in this state has a whole new meaning! LOL.

In CO, it means “own a business with grow houses and a store front that’s maybe worth millions of dollars” at best, or “I work a cash register at a legal dispensary” more likely in the case of a guy looking on line to date APs. In neither of these cases, would I expect the individual to show up as a guest in my home (or that of a potential GF) with a bag full of illegal goodies.

Obviously, the language barrier, the state specific laws, the “whisper down the alley” nature of this, all make it impossible to judge.

momo4 November 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm

The timing of this post is just too weird! This past week my AP also told me that a good friend of hers who is also an AP in our city (but with another agency) is dating a drug dealer! She thinks the guy’s a bit of a loser, smoking weed all the time (which her friend ostensibly doesn’t do) and can’t see what her friend sees in him, but she doesn’t think the guy is dangerous or anything. That said, of course the AP’s family doesn’t know any of this, they’d probably send her into rematch in a second if they did.

I was thinking about the situation and thinking of writing in curious to hear other people’s opinions. My AP and I have a great, very close relationship, so she shared things like this with me frequently.

Personally, I don’t think it’s any of my business, although in the unlikely case that her friend wanted to bring this boyfriend over to hang out at out house with my AP I’d have some serious reservations. I’ve been down that road with one of my AP’s in the past, not interested in going there again!

I do not know the other HF (and although it’s not really relevant, they don’t sound particularly nice) but in any case I would not make any effort to let them know unless there was reason to believe that they are in some danger, which it really doesn’t sound like they are. Also, the other AP is my AP’s BF here, and I would not want to do anything that would end up making my AP unhappy, as would happen if her BF was sent into rematch.

That said, the OPs case seems more worrisome. Assuming the guy really is a drug dealer who may reasonably be considered likely to bring drugs into their house or onto their property, there is good reason to think the HF should know about it. But as others have mentioned, the whole thing sounds very gossipy and unconfirmed. We don’t know if he really is a drug dealer. We don’t know if the HP don’t know he’s coming to stay simply because she hasn’t had a chance to tell them, or whether she’s intentionally not telling them. We don’t even know what their house rules are regarding visitors in the first place (although we can probably safely assume that “no drug dealers” would be part of the rules). I doubt any AP in her right mind would tell her HF she was dating a drug dealer, she probably thinks it’s really exciting and edgy, but it really does reflect poorly on her maturity and judgement over all.
I don’t know what the right thing to do here is. I think you’d need more information.

I suppose you could always talk to the LCC, explaining the “rumors” and “gossip”, and if you have a good diplomatic LCC she should be able to find a way to deal with the situation fairly so that there are no fingers pointed that would hurt your relationship with your AP and her relationship with her friends. I doubt the OP’s AP is the only one who knows about this, these things have a way of getting around.

momo4 November 6, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Thinking about this case and the responses that have been posted it suddenly struck me that most everyone is assuming that the allegations of a dug dealing BF are either a misunderstanding or true. In any case, everyone seems to be assuming good faith on the part of the reporting AP, but what if she made the whole thing up?

I bring this up to play devil’s advocate because the consequences for the AP who is reported to be dating a drug dealer (and therefore apparently inferred to be using drugs herself) are so serious.

Imagine someone told you your AP was dating a drug dealer… Would you believe her if she said she wasn’t? Say you gave her the benefit of the doubt, might it still not change your relationship with her? Would you always wonder about her judgement? Many families would see this as grounds for rematch, and the agency would quite likely just to send the AP back to their home country, even if the accusation was never proved to be true.

So if one AP was angry at another and wanted to damage her reputation, wouldn’t this be the perfect sort of hearsay to pass along? (Or even just make up?) We’re assuming that the AP who says “my friend” is really friends with the AP she’s talking about, but what if she isn’t? I

know this is all very soap opera, but given how much this could hurt an AP, shouldn’t we at least consider the possibility that is is just nasty gossip and be careful how we handle the information?

exaupair November 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Are there really any consequences for an AP who is dating someone of a shady profession? Does the AP program is above the young peoples’ personal choices? I honestly doubt it, but if that is the case then as an AP I would obsessively keep my personal life to myself.
I agree, this can be just a nasty gossip (we all know how few words out of context can grow into something big). Maybe whoever said that in the first place doesn’t have good intentions? Or maybe the AP is actually dating someone with a bad reputation, in which case she still should be left alone. As long as her relationship doesn’t impact her job and the presumed dealer isn’t around the children her choice is her choice. As an ex AP I can’t say anything other than that.

momo4 November 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

The “Aupair Program” as such doesn’t really seem to care what APs do so long as it isn’t illegal and no one is complaining.

Host families are entirely another matter, and different HFs have different opinions about what is acceptable for their APs to be doing outside work hours.

I know most APs believe that their social lives and activities when they are not on duty are none of the HF business, but many HF do not agree with this, mainly because they feel that the APs life outside her work ultimately does affect them and their children since the AP lives with them and is part of their family for that year.

The assumption that the APs social life won’t affect the HF is completely true in many cases, and completely untrue in others. I had an AP who ended up dating a drug addict with psychiatric problems including anger management issues, and when she broke up with him there were some scary situations where he was threatening to come over to our house while she was watching my infant son and I was away at work, and she had to lie to him and tell him that we were home so he wouldn’t come over. It was scary partly because I did not know what he might do especially if he were drunk or otherwise intoxicated, and we’re in an urban center in the US so guns are easy to come by for those who want them… Her floods of tears and days of moping after each of her many break-ups were difficult enough to deal with (and there are HF who will initiate rematch just for this sort of thing) but the potential danger to my family that was a direct result of her personal life really gave me a different perspective on how and AP’s personal life can affect her HF.

Ideally, my AP’s dating choices should be none of my business, I should never have to worry about angry ex-BFs, and I should only ever hear about them if my AP happens to want to share something with me. Ideally her social life should have no negative impact on her work, and certainly no negative impact on my family.

Some APs are great at keeping their private lives private, others are not. The reality is that as soon as an AP brings her private life home – which is both her and her HF’s home – her private life becomes her HF’s business.

AlwaysHopeful HM November 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

“As long as her relationship doesn’t impact her job and the presumed dealer isn’t around the children her choice is her choice.”

While I understand this sentiment, as a mom, I don’t feel i have the luxury to wait and find out whether the potential bad result becomes an actual bad result. For me, it comes down to a balance of probability and magnitude, and the knowledge that as much as we like to believe we are independent, none of us travels through this world alone– not when we are in a family. What we do affects each other in small and big ways.

Of course my evaluation of the AP’s maturity and responsibility will factor in to how much I feel I need to know, and my reaction too what I learn, but I know that sometimes anyone can unwittingly get in over her head (especially when it comes to matters of the heart). So, if I am aware of risky behavior that could result in disaster for my family, I would feel within my rights to address it, including possible rematch. Even more so if I learned that my AP was hiding it from me.

Bringing a known criminal into my home would be one such circumstance, even if my son were away when it happened. Online dating of a criminal who lived out of state would not likely bother me as much. AP or his or her friends bringing drugs of any sort into my home would lead to rematch and possibly a call to the police. Like another poster, I have a security clearance in a town and profession where it’s important I keep it. I would not be willing to stomach even a little risk to my family’s future in deference to my au pair’s right to self-determination. From my perspective, as an au pair here, you are a member of the family, and we belong to each other. You don’t get to make decisions that COULD hurt our family just because you believe they probably WON’T.

With all of that said, it’s quite possible that AP’s boyfriend is not a true drug dealer. As a HM, I would want to know about the rumor, but would talk to my AP and form my own conclusions. Can’t comment on the boyfriend’s visit, since it’s not clear why the HPs don’t know about it. If they have an open visitor policy, and they’ve had a chance to form a conclusion about the boyfriend, there’s no need for me to alert anyone to anything.

Dorsi November 6, 2015 at 10:53 pm

I imagine none of the Au Pairs on this thread (or not on this thread) have ever heard of civil forfeiture?


or, for the John Oliver version (much easier to understand);

Pretty much, it is legal in the US to seize assets of someone who is associated with crime. Police can seize not only cash from cars but real estate such as a person’s home. For example, homes have been seized even if it was somebody other than the homeowner on the premises who committed drug crimes without the owner’s awareness. Police have seized a house on the pretext that it was being used for selling drugs, after a couple’s son was arrested for selling $40 worth of illegal drugs.

We can argue if this is good law or fair, but it is true either way. If you had an Au Pair (or her boyfriend) in your home and someone decided this was the moment they were getting busted, you could lose your house.

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm

To be clear, if there was a reason to believe the guy was BRINGING drugs to the HFs home, because of the legal implications -and I don’t care what they’re called here- I would make sure the LCC knows about the situation and have her deal with it.
I just think that even if he is “dealing drugs” (whatever that may mean) it does NOT mean he’ll bring them along with him…I’m sure almost everyone on here knew someone who were smoking weed in college and they sure got it from someone. Doesn’t mean they’ll travel with their bag of drugs and spread it wherever they may go.

Boy Au Pair Spain November 7, 2015 at 3:43 pm

If I understand the law correctly law enforcement would have to prove on the balance of probability that the property was used in the comission of crime. There is nothing to suggest that he has any such plan.

Even in the extemely unlikely case of him using the house to do a drugs deal, it would be very easy to establish that, on the balance of probability, the parents were innocent parties. If the parents in the case you mentioned lost the house it was because they were unable to convince the court that they didnt know about the offense taking place.

This is all aside from the fact that it seems extremely improbable that any police department would make an application for forfeit of the property of the au pair’s family.

In the end what you suggest is scary but it would be the result of many unlikely events.

WarmStateMomma November 9, 2015 at 8:56 am

BoyAP: No, you don’t understand correctly. As a lawyer reading your statements with about probability of outcomes and burdens of proof, it would frighten me to host someone who thought they knew how the American justice system worked. This kind of childish fantasy is how good people find themselves in trouble.

There is no legal aid – even the indigent don’t get legal aid for civil forfeiture cases. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars will be wasted on attorney fees that you never get back even if you are found innocent. Lives and professions can be ruined by this kind of mess.

Your ideas are dangerous and I respond for any au pairs following this discussion. Even lawyers have to tell their clients the facts and let them make the decision. Making decisions with the host family’s future based on what you think you know about the law in your home country is immature, selfish and dangerous.

Meg November 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

Most or all HF would not qualify. Besides, in my city the public defenders office is overloaded and under resourced. Most anyone who has any way to get money for a private lawyer will do so even if it puts them deep in debt. Also, just an analogy, I have been driving for over 20 years and have never been in an accident. That doesn’t mean that I will just not put a seat belt on myself and my kids just because probably no harm would come from it. In this case, no harm would likely come because the cops likely won’t show up and find drugs in the house or car. But, if the cops do there will be harm to the HF. The unknown is how bad it will be.

Mimi November 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

It’s easy to take an optimistic approach when the consequences for you is what you would consider negligible or worth the risk. Rather than focus on the details, the bigger idea that many here are trying to share is that the risk to the HF is much more comprehensive and beyond what many foreign APs might understand or consider. To scoff at the possible consequences a HF could face for an AP’s actions is naïve.

Fortysomething HM November 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Fellow attorney here. Everyone, whether a citizen of the US or non-citizen, is expected to follow the laws of the US while in the US, whether they know and understand them or not. The same would be true, I assume, for any other country, and I would never presume to understand another country’s law on even a superficial level, or certainly better than a citizen of that country (particularly a citizen who has actually gone to law school and practiced law in that country .

A Google search might give you some basics (on law or medicine or anything really), but if you think that’s the same as having a working, practical knowledge of the subject matter, “naïve” is just the tip of the iceberg.

You are starting with your assumption of how things are, or how you think things should be regarding foreign law (i.e, that civil forfeiture is “not a real possibility” and that hey, even if happens you can get legal aide), and from there, you are suggesting that based on that uninformed opinion, it’s no big deal, or overblown, or it’s ok to take risks with other people’s lives/money/reputations because you don’t think it’s likely to lead to serious unintended consequences.

I concur with WarmStateMomma that for the benefit of other APs who might be following along, it’s necessary to correct this dangerous attitude about this particular law (or on the issue of foreign laws in general wherever you may be travelling). US civil forfeiture laws are very controversial, for the very reasons you think that the law cannot be as described here. But they are real, for better or for worse.

As noted by the others, the burden would be on the HF to prove that their house/car was not being used in the commission of a crime (and this would occur during an expensive, time consuming — think months to years, not weeks — and draining process). Legal aid in any context in this country is reserved for the most seriously indigent. Few qualify, certainly not the cross-section of Americans who are hosting APs.

But in any event, this is serious stuff and very real, even if you (who are lacking in any amount of actual knowledge on the subject beyond your simple Google searches) think it sounds like “not a real possibility.” You are wrong. Simple as that.

Furthermore, my simple Google search found the following — and I can assure you these families are pretty well aware of how “real” civil forfeiture is.




hOstCDmom November 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Setting aside the more remote – but still possible — risk of losing one’s home, It is a very real chance that parents will lose current or future jobs. Job applications may ask applicants : “have you been arrested”. Does not mean that you have been CONVICTED or not, but just ARRESTED. Innocent HP who are arrested because of drugs in their home, or in their car, will suffer consequences if they have to say yes to this. Employers are allowed to ask this, and they are allowed to not hire someone based on their answer.

Another example, if an AP has friends in the home, friends are given drugs or alcohol by AP or AP’s boyfriend, they leave the home and drive, have an accident, HP could be arrested, based on reasonable suspicion that they were social hosts who provided the alcohol (or drugs, but the latter not being legal in most jurisdictions, and never legal under FEDERAL law, even in the states where they are legal under state law.) It might turn out later that they can prove they didn’t provide the drugs or alcohol…but they will still have been arrested.

Also, BoyAPSpain — I don’t think you appreciate the significance of legal costs in the USA. In major metropolitan areas lawyers charge from $300-$1000 *per hour*. I guess you can imagine how such costs can add up if HP need to retain a lawyer to sort out a mess/misunderstandings with drugs… HP cold easily end up spending $10,000- $20,000 on legal costs. That is a not insignificant amount of money.

Innocent people can suffer quite a bit due to the actions of others.

WarmStateMomma November 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Boy AP – I’ve been practicing law for 10 years and am licensed in two of the largest states in the country. Our country’s aspirations and the reality on the ground are different. Most families would never qualify for free counsel and the free counsel provided to truly indigent families is often woefully inadequate to say the least.

Innocence is no promise of justice. Google the Innocence Project and see just how many innocent people are executed in the US. They had free counsel – which is not available for most civil matters.

And yes, the American law is that all laws must be followed regardless of whether you know about them or understand. The expression is “ignorance of the law is no defense.”

My $500 hourly rate is considered quite reasonable in my city and I’d expect to pay substantially more for a more seasoned lawyer to handle a case on which my livelihood or freedom depended.

To me, such “optimism” comes across as callous disregard for the magnitude of harm that the host family could suffer.

Meg November 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm

It seems likely that ultimately the HF is cleared of wrongdoing. But that could be after thousands of dollars and lots of hours. After the gossip goes around their employers and the kid’s school. And maybe after someone losses a job.

OK even that only happens if the cops come and it’s so so likely they don’t. Still to put the host family in the cross hairs of this kind of risk is just a terrible thing to do.

Fortunately, I think that most Au Pairs are far to responsible and respectful to do something like that. Sure, some may occasionly use a little pot but I don’t think many would bring a drug dealer into a family’s home even if they were dating.

Boy Au Pair Spain November 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm

The HF would get legal aid (I don’t know what this is called in the USA…?) in this case. But yes surely it would cause a lot of stress.

I am playing devil’s advocate a little here I guess. I do agree that it would be an unfair thing for the au pair to do but more so because an au pair shouldn’t invite someone into the house that they know they wouldn’t be happy being there – if they were to have the full facts. I don’t agree with your reasoning that the au pair shouldn’t be putting the family in a dangerous situation though. As Dorsi says, I guess an au pair wouldn’t know about this law. Also, there is no indication that he is going to the house to sell drugs. Perhaps the law is something that could be mentioned in a discussion between the original poster and the au pair.

Mimi November 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Most HF will not qualify for legal aid. They will have to hire a lawyer and pay.

Boy Au Pair Spain November 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Right yes I am sorry I was misread something when I researched it. I thought that legal aid was for all in this case but it seems you are right and it is only for those that cannot afford it.

hOstCDmom November 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm

One must be essentially indigent to get legal aid. Any HF that can afford an AP, and where one HP (not to mention both HP) has a job, would not qualify for legal aid. And one only has a *right* to legal representation for criminal matters, not civil matters.

German Au-Pair November 7, 2015 at 5:33 pm

I’m so confused by all this speculation..this is a situation that has gone through the channels of the other AP (who may have gotten it wrong), the HF’s AP and the HM. He may have told her he smokes pot and shares with his friends on occasion for all we know. The theory about her misunderstanding the trm and him working at walgreens is not that unlikely either (and would be so funny, especially after the talk of third parties potentially losing their house…)
Before the HM runs off to tell the other HP their AP is smuggeling a drug dealer -and maybe his entire business- into their house, she SERIOUSLY needs to clarify a lot of things first. Misunderstandings could potentially damage a whole lot of relationships here…I was falsely accused of hurting one of my host children because a stupid AP had misunderstood something I said but was too stupid to actually clarify with me and told someone else instead. I was lucky I was trusted enough that it didn’t do any damage but I was so aware of what COULD have happened because another AP was being and immature gossip. Watching out for others is good and smart, blowing things out of proportion and acting on gossip -not so much.

Meg November 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Right. I’m saying if he is a true drug dealer. Not someone who sells legal pot and not someone who shares with friends.

Fortysomething HM November 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm

May I just say that I love John Oliver by the way? That’s worth watching just for his awesome sarcastic wit.

Meg November 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Realized that I am conservative on this topic. If it were my Au Pair this would be a deal breaker. As far as doing something about it. I feel lucky that I have an Au Pair I really respect. I think that if I talked to her about the issues with this she would have a good feel on how legitimate the “story ” is and would support a reasonable response. Thank God. I didn’t even think to talk about this kind of thing when matching.

NJ Mom November 9, 2015 at 3:54 pm

In my opinion, this isn’t a black or white situation. I would probably encourage my AP to think about it and to talk to her friend at this point. I would bring up 3 things to consider:
1) Is the AP is violating any HF rules?
2) What are the AP’s goals for the year?
3) Is the AP mature enough to make good well-informed decisions?

#1 – This likely varies from family to family. This would be an instant re-match for us, but we have it stated in our handbook. Not all families have the same rules for boyfriends or drugs (For example, what if the situation were underage drinking with a 19 yo AP and bartender BF?). If the HP does not allow this, then I would encourage our AP to encourage the AP to rethink the whole situation.

#2 – Why is the AP an AP? (Travel, new experiences, improving language skills, a stepping stone to living in the USA longer term?) Is the AP at the beginning, middle, or end of the AP year? Does this scenario contribute to or jeopardize the AP’s goals? Perhaps the AP is here to travel the US. Having a long distance BF may be a way visit other parts of the country. Perhaps she is here to enjoy herself and the BF or drugs contributes to that. The flip side is that if something goes awry, this could lead to undesireable travel or experiences. If the AP goals is English, then this could jeopardize her remaining time in the USA. Perhaps she has already greatly improved her fluency and going home early is not a big deal. If her goal is to stay longer term, then a drug related incident could prevent her from obtaining a visa in the future.

#3 – Does the AP have the maturity to think about #1 and #2? Does the AP understand that the USA may have different laws and attitudes than their home country? Does the AP understand the potential consequences and evaluate the likelihood of those scenarios? Is the AP willing to accept those consequences? Or is the AP not thinking at all?

Boy Au Pair Spain November 10, 2015 at 3:51 am

My message has been taking down (maybe someone wants to tell me why so I can avoid the mistake in the future? I hope it is more than just having an unpopular viewpoint) and with all the replies with it. To do those that replied to me the courtesy I will reply here.

[ note: yes, I took down the comment because the tone was combative. See the commenting guidelines for more info.]

It is really an academic discussion to me because I have already said that the au pair should tell the parents because it should be up to them to decide whether to have the drug dealer in their home. You are right too that I didn’t appreciate the cost of legal fees in the USA. (I recently paid a lawyer 20 euros an hour and he was very good ;) ) I also didn’t realise about having to declare if you have been arrested on a job application – that is abhorrent beyond words.

To me it is a very sad situation where we have to argue so strongly that parents should inform their actions based on the fear of a enormous miscarriage of justice. The law is really clear that people have a right to their property and that innocent parties should not be punished by law. You are saying that in reality it doesn’t work like that. However, even if there is a tiny chance of the police and the courts acting in a way contrary to this, I feel that there is something inherently wrong in buckling to that fear.

In any case, I repeat, the parents should decide but it wouldn’t be something I would base a decision on.

Meg November 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

So I saw that you said you would respect the HF choice. I think we know that you are just having an academic discussion. It is an interesting, if troubling topic as am academic issue. If you are interested, look up the incarnation rate of the US on the CIA Factbook. It is unbelievably high and drug convictions really drive that. As a general discussion I could go on and on. I think most Americans could. But, with respect to the Au Pair program, I think that you hit it on the head the first time. You would respect the HF not wanting the person in their home whether or not you agreed. I think that is important both out of curiosity and because I think sometimes the HF may know the more about some things just because they know their own country and community better.

WarmStateMomma November 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm

@ Boy AP:

The problem is that APs don’t have the cultural background to realize the nature, magnitude or likelihood of the risks: civil forfeiture, legal fees, professional avenues closed, etc. We really aren’t out to trample on an AP’s good time.

I don’t think we’ve discussed paranoia or a “tiny chance” of a miscarriage of justice. The risks are substantial and well-known to Americans. Your unfamiliarity with the risks and your dismay at their unfairness does not make the risks any less real.

I’m sure you don’t drive while intoxicated even though you’d probably make it home alive. The risks are too great and you too, likely “buckle in to the fear” of incurring them. It’s not that different from the drug scenario.

FirstTimeHM November 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Just to put BoyAP’s comments in a European perspective, the law here works approximately the same in various European countries and legal aid is a lot less expensive here. People are also not taken into custody that easily, if you see someone being arrested here it’s quite probably that they have committed a serious offense.
I think BoyAP underestimates the cultural differences between Europe and America. Most Europeans would do that, especially if they’re still a young and idealistic. They should not.

When we were taught the basics of law at school we were told this example, and I guess it’s a very good example of how European law works.
In our country there is a law that forbids sexual contact between underaged people and people of age, it’s there to protect children from sexual predators.
A girl and a boy had a relationship, sex, and broke up with a lot of hard feelings. The girl was 17, nearly 18, at that time and the boy had just turned 18.
The girl brought the case before the judge and boy and girl acknowledged that they had had sex, own free will, while she was underage and he was 18.
The judge ruled that since the age gap between the two was not even 6 months and both agreed to have sex, the boy was guilty by the letter of the law but by no means a sexual predator and the purpose of the law was not served by convicting him. The judge ruled not guilty and this was confirmed by the court of appeal.

This case would probably have had a different outcome in the US.

Boy Au Pair Spain November 10, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Yes I think you are right FirstTimeHM, I underestimate the cultural differences. Thank you Meg and WarmStateMomma for your patience in explaining it to me. I suppose my reaction is useful to know how au pairs from Europe may assess such risks.

Things are very different in Spain (I am actually from the UK but Spain is my long term home now and I use it to show the stark contrast!). Here possession of any drug for personal use is not a crime and people do not go to jail for drink driving unless they kill someone.

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