(AP) “Dear Abby” columnist Jeanne Phillips notified police after receiving a letter from a man who wrote about his pornographic fantasies of having sex with children.
The 28-year-old letter writer was arrested Monday, and police said 40 pornographic photographs of children were found on his computer. Charges were pending. The man admitted writing the letter, but denied acting on his fantasies, police said.
“I lost sleep, didn’t sleep for days, because I really believe this man wrote to me genuinely seeking help,” Phillips told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in its Wednesday editions. “I was torn, because my readers do turn to me for help, yet there was the priority of the safety of those young girls.”
The “Dear Abby” column’s credibility is based on the anonymity given those seeking her advice, and making the call to police was “an extremely difficult thing to do,” Phillips said. “I believe he was seeking help and I hope that is considered, and I hope he gets the help he so obviously needs.”
Jeanne Phillips, whose mother, Pauline Phillips, created the advice column 46 years ago under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, has contributed to the column since the early 1980s.