Convict’s (distant) cousin

Dear Queenie,

  A distant relative of mine committed a crime and was convicted and sentenced for it. I was never close to that person and never knew anything about what they were doing until it all got made public.

  Sometimes someone who knows we are related will ask me how I feel about that relative and what they did.

  Queenie, what’s a good way to answer such questions without bad-mouthing my relative but still making it clear that I don’t approve of what they did?—Convict’s (distant) cousin

Dear Cousin,

  Tell the person who asks such a question what you have told me – that, yes, you are distantly related to the person who committed that crime, but that you were never close with them and all you know about the crime they committed is what you read and heard in the news.

  And try to forgive the person for asking such a question. Sometimes people start talking before they put their brain in gear.