It would have been helpful to have had the details about the specific behavior that your grandson engaged in. Without that information, it’s difficult for me to give you a thorough answer. Thus, my answer will be general in nature.
Regarding your specific question about whether or not he has “extreme” issues, the answer depends on what he did. The fact that he seems remorseful is a good sign. It means that he is sorry and seems to realize that he has made a very big mistake.
In the meantime, it would be best that he never be left alone with your daughter. Though he seems remorseful and embarrassed, you can’t be certain that it won’t happen again. If I knew more, I would be better able to predict whether or not he would repeat his behavior. At 12 years of age, he’s very immature and inexperienced and has limited control over his behavior. This may be especially true when it comes to his sexual impulses. He may have been acting out of curiosity or immaturity but no matter the reason, you can’t be certain that it won’t happen again. Thus, try to ensure that the two of them are never alone. That might involve acquiring additional help in your home (nurses aid, etc.) or perhaps installing a surveillance system.
I would highly recommend that you take him to counseling. The therapist will gather information about the details of the event, his psychosocial history, and so forth, and make a judgment about how to move forward and what kind of treatment is necessary. He needs to understand that what he did was wrong and nothing like this can ever happen again. It would be advisable for you to go to counseling with him, at least for the first few sessions. You need to be involved in his treatment. The therapist will offer you guidance about how to handle the situation and how to protect your daughter.
If this continues, your grandson risks going to jail and being labeled a sex offender. Even though he is quite young, and under the age of 18, he can still be labeled as a sex offender. In the United States, these individuals are referred to as juvenile sex offenders. This label can sometimes stay with them even into adulthood. Juvenile sex offenders are placed on registries much like their adult counterparts. Being on a registry can be a lifelong sentence. Obviously, that something the family would want to avoid.
Generally speaking, juvenile sex offenders tend to harm other children. Sometimes they target family members. Your daughter cannot fend for herself and thus may be an easy target for an offender. The best way to prevent this from happening again, is to seek treatment for your grandson. With the right help, future problems can hopefully be avoided. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle